Biotech Updates

NSF Funds Study of Crop Drought Responses

October 2, 2009

A three -year grant worth $2.4 million was awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to a group of international collaborators composed of Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, the International Rice Research Institute and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. The project entitled Cereal drought stress response and resistance network will focus on the development of a systems biology view of the drought responses of these cereal crops to aid in the dissection of these complex biological processes. A cereal drought gene interaction network will also be developed by putting together and integrating rice and maize data to help identify key regulatory gene and signaling pathways that may be critical for improving drought resistance.  

"This combined bioinformatics and systems biology approach is a powerful way to find those genes that may be modified in some way to improve crop adaptability, which will contribute to the development of stable food production systems worldwide," Andrew Pereira, the project leader said. Another project strategy is the development of a cereal drought website that will provide query and visualization tools that will allow project members and general users to explore project updates, methods, and results. "Cyberinfrastructure for Biological Researchers, Educators and Developers (CIBRED)," another VBI NSF-funded project will help support the project's outreach efforts.

View the press release at