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Obama's 2011 Budget Seeks $69.3M for JGI

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Under the White House's proposed budget for 2011, the US Department of Energy expects to receive a total of $322 million next fiscal year for its Biological Systems Science Research (BSSR) efforts, including $69.3 million for the Joint Genome Institute (JGI), an increase of less than one percent over the $69 million JGI received for this year.

Under President Barack Obama's proposed budget for fiscal 2011, the DOE's Office of Science would receive an increase in funding to $5.1 billion from $4.9 billion in 2010, including $220 million for biofuels and biomass research.

BSSR programs are funded through DOE's Biological and Environmental Research Program branch (BER), and they include a range of bioscience projects using 'omics and other life sciences methods to develop bioenergy technologies. Under this budget, BSSR funding would rise around one percent from $318.5 to $322 million.

JGI next year will use its funding to support the scientific user community and the DOE Bioenergy Research Centers with integrative large-scale genome data acquisition and analysis. JGI's projects next year will include greater emphasis on metagenome expression and sequencing of environmental microbial communities or the plant-microbe rhizosphere, improved genome annotation, and functional analysis and verification of genome-scale models.

Next year, DOE wants to use $40.1 million for its Foundational Genomics Research efforts, compared to the $33.2 million it plans to spend on those projects in 2010.

Funding for DOE's Genomics Analysis and Validation programs would remain flat at $10 million year over year.

Likewise, funding for the DOE's Metabolic Synthesis and Conversion program would remain even at $39.1 million next year. That program focuses on biological pathway composition and regulation, and aims to convert carbon from simpler forms into advanced molecules, and it studies carbon uptake, fixation, and storage in plants and soil microbes.

Funding for Computational Biosciences programs would rise over 50 percent to $12.7 million from $8.3 million in 2011. This research involves models and computational tools that are used to describe biochemical activities in microbial communities or in plants and which are used by the BER Genomic Sciences programs. These models are used to integrate diverse types of data and sets from genomics, proteomics, and other experiments into single models that describe and predict the behavior of metabolic pathways and genetic regulatory networks.

The BER's funding for its Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs rose slightly to $8.78 million from $8.71 million.

The Radiological Sciences program, which funds research in radiochemistry and radiotracer development, high resolution imaging, under the 2011 budget would be cut to $42.3 million from $46.6 million.

The Radiobiology program also would dip under next year's budget, dropping to $23.9 million from $25.9 million. This program funds research into biological effects of low-dose radiological exposure, including genomic instability, genetic susceptibility, adaptive responses, and bystander effects. It also supports research into the role of epigenetics in response of biological systems to environmental conditions such as low-dose radiation.

Support for the Bioenergy Research Centers would remain flat at $75 million in 2011. This program runs three centers focused on developing cost-effective tools that could be used to make cellulosic biofuels commercially viable on a national scale.

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