Crop Biotech Update

NSF Gives USD 101 Million to 32 Plant Genome Projects

October 23, 2009
The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) is awarding a total of USD 101.6 million to 20 plant genome research projects. These projects, the NSF said, will better define plant responses to changing environments and contribute to understanding of genetic processes in economically important plants. The projects will leverage sequence and functional genomics resources to increase 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. The projects include:
  • A multi-institutional effort led by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; University of California, Berkeley and Yale University to study the mechanism(s) of hybrid vigor in plants
  • Research led by the University of Texas-Austin to elucidate the basic physiological and molecular responses to field imposed drought stress in switchgrass as a first step to modeling plant performance in response to future climate change
  • The effort led by the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research/USDA-ARS to complete the sequence of the tomato genome
  • A study led by scientists at the Cornell University and USDA-ARS on the gene effects and interactions that underlie variation in complex traits in maize and its wild relative, teosinte.
The projects are funded through the NSF's Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP), which is now on its twelfth year. For more information, read