NSF awards four-year, $3.9 million grant to plant biology team led by University of Georgia

The National Science Foundation's Plant Genome Research Program has awarded a grant of $3.9 million to a team of researchers directed by University of Georgia plant biologist Michael Scanlon.

The funded project is called "Functional Analyses of Genes Involved in Meristem Organization and Leaf Initiation," and will be granted over a four-year period.

"This NSF award to Dr. Scanlon's team continues the very strong work UGA has been doing in plant genomics in recent years," said President Michael F. Adams. "I am particularly pleased that as a part of this grant, Dr. Scanlon and his team will be speaking with students in minority-majority high schools and helping train teachers from those schools, introducing them both to this important science and to the University of Georgia."

Since the Plant Genome Research Program began in 1998, NSF has committed about $375 million to the effort (including this year's new awards.) Currently the program supports 120 projects.

Other universities involved in the new grant include Iowa State University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Truman State University.

"Traditional studies of plant development have largely proceeded one gene at a time," said Scanlon. "We expect that with today's technology we can analyze functional networks of gene expression that occur in a small number of developmentally important cells."

According to Mary Clutter, assistant director of NSF's Directorate for Biological Sciences, this year's awards take advantage of the fruits of earlier genome projects to extend existing areas of research and to break entirely new ground.

"In key ways, these projects will expand what we know about the biology of the plant kingdom, including plants that have a major impact upon the lives of people around the world," Clutter said. "In a relatively short time, genomics has created massive amounts of data and innovative, adaptable tools for biological research. These now mak

Contact: Phil Williams
University of Georgia

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