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NSF Awards $85M to 31 Plant Genome-Research Projects

NEW YORK, Sept. 30 - The National Science Foundation has awarded around $85 million to 31 labs for research into plant genomics.


A total of $75.6 million went to 23 collaborative-research projects in plant genomics, while $9.5 million went to eight young investigators under the NSF's first-annual Young Investigator Awards in Plant Genome Research competition.


According to the NSF, the 2002 competition "emphasized collaborative research in functional genomics." Funds ranged from a high of $7.6 million, a five-year awarded to the University of California, Berkeley, for a potato functional-genomics project, to a low of $140,612, a one-year award handed to Rutgers University to study localized mutagenesis from maize transgenic lines.


Here's a sampling: A project led by the University of Arizona will develop "new, sensitive methods for measuring gene expression in specific types of cells and parts of cells," while a project led by the University of Alabama, Birmingham, will develop "new methods for analysis of gene expression data on a genome-wide scale," the NSF said last week.


The agency also made available a pair of collaborative-research awards to begin isolating and sequencing maize genes. In the first project, to be led by the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, in St. Louis, scientists will test two methods for isolating the gene-rich regions of the maize genome. In the second project, led by Rutgers University in New Jersey, a team will sequence 20 million base pairs of the maize genome and assemble the sequence onto a detailed map.


The $9.5 million in Young Investigator Awards, meanwhile, will go to develop new computational tools to "compare plant genomes, analysis of genes involved in plant resistance to pathogens, and genes involved in root and fruit development."


Young awards ranged from $1.7 million, which went to the University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities, to $450,000 given to the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Click here for more information about awardees, or here to read about next year's plant-genome kitty.

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