27 October 2010

NSF Awards New Projects for Plant Genome Research

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Projects will better define plant responses to changing environments caused by various factors, including climate change, fungal pathogens and drought, and will yield knowledge of the genetics of economically important plants

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made 28 new awards totaling $101.9 million during the 13th year of its Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP).

These awards--which range from $634,000 to $9.6 million over two to five years--support research and tool development to further knowledge of genome structure and function. They will leverage sequence and functional genomics resources to advance understanding of gene function and interactions between genomes and the environment in economically important crop plants such as corn, cotton, rice, soybean, tomato and wheat.

"These projects will provide new insights into how changes in plant genomes translate into changes in growth and development in a range of environments," said Joann Roskoski, NSF's acting assistant director for the Biological Sciences. "Basic research leads to new discoveries that will improve the quality and yield of crop plants, and in the longer term, to innovations that will support the bio-based economy of the 21st century."

The new awards--made to 42 institutions in 26 states--include collaborating scientists from Asia, Europe and Central America.

First-time recipients of PGRP awards include Alcorn State University, Saint Augustine's College, Saint Michael's College, Doane College and the University of Vermont.

The development of a wealth of genomics tools and sequence resources developed over the past 13 years of the PGRP continues to enable exciting, new comparative approaches and predictive modeling to uncover gene networks that regulate plant development and growth in changing environments.

(RedOrbit)

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