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USDA Grants $7M for Crop Genomics, Breeding

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The US Department of Agriculture has awarded $7 million to fund genomics, genetics, and breeding programs aimed at developing enhanced crops that can survive climactic stresses, the agency said this week.

Funded through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, previously called the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, these 14 university studies will conduct genomics and other research programs attempting to develop plant varieties with increased yield, reduced production cost, and enhanced quality and nutritional value.

"At a time when disruptive climate change threatens production of some of the world's staple foods, some of the biggest gains we can make in ending world hunger will involve development of stress-resistant crops," USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. "Drought-tolerant, heat-tolerant, and saline-resistant crops will not only offer tremendous improvements for farmers around the world, but also position American farmers competitively in the world market."

The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant winners include:

• University of California, Davis, $895,000;
• University of California, Riverside, $1,000,000;
• USDA ARS Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Unit, Aberdeen, $450,000;
• Purdue University, $997,000;
• Kansas State University, $441,000;
• University of Kentucky, $150,000;
• Michigan State University, $450,000;
• University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn., $897,000;
• University of Nebraska, $282,000;
• Cornell University, $1,000,000;
• Oregon State University, $448,000;
• USDA FS Pacific Northwest Research Station, $454,500

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