Recent scientific advances made through our nationís investments (private and public sector) in studying DNA structure and function in humans and model organisms have resulted in a new biological paradigm for understanding the traits of organisms. Through the National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI), this paradigm can be extended to improving the useful properties of plants that are important to humanity. Solutions to many of our nationís greatest challenges can be met through the application of plant-based technologies. For example, the revitalization of rural America will come from a more robust agricultural sector; reductions in greenhouse gasses can be achieved from the production of plant biofuels for energy; chemically contaminated sites can be rehabilitated economically using selected plants; and worldwide malnutrition can be greatly reduced through the development of higher yielding and more nutritious crops that can be grown on marginal soil.
The long-term goal is to understand the structure and function of genes in plants important to agriculture, environmental management, energy, and health. Reaching this goal will require asustained commitment from the Federal government working in collaboration with other nations and with the private sector. The Initiativeís short-term goals, to be achieved over the next five years, focus on building a plant genome research infrastructure by:
The Initiativeís Operating Principles:
In FY99, NSFís plant genome program received $50 million. Future support for this program is contained in the Presidentís FY2000 budget request. In FY2000, USDA proposes to support its participation in the initiative through its intramural program (ARS) and through the National Research Initiative and other competitive grants programs. The NSTC IWG will coordinate these programs and facilitate communications between the federal government and the private sector. The IWG published their final report in January 1998. Since then, the agencies that comprise the IWG have been working on implementing the plan through joint grant solicitations on rice, Arabidopsis, and other plant species of economic importance.
National Plant Genome Initiative, January 1998. This report presents
a five-year Federal plan to conduct research on plant genomes. Building
on the strengths of the USDA, NSF, DOE, and the NIH, the agencies propose specific
scientific goals and programmatic objectives.
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