WASHINGTON, DC--Twenty scientists met at the US Department of Agriculture in late May to discuss the agency's draft Agricultural Genome Initiative that was introduced in April. Sally Rockey, USDA's deputy administrator for competitive grants, said the reviewers reaffirmed the priorities put forth in the initiative: to fund projects that conduct physical mapping, develop express sequence tags, or sequence animal, plant, and microbial genomes of agricultural importance.
But before the draft is finalized, the agency awaits news on the status of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998. The bill, which was passed in a 92-8 vote by the Senate May 12, would award the US Food and Drug Administration $600 million in funding over five years.
At BioInform press time, the legislation awaited a vote on the House floor. The Rules Committee there failed before the Memorial Day recess to delete provisions for food stamps from the bill. USDA researchers are hoping the bill will be reconsidered with the provision included. Without it, Presi dent Clinton has promised to veto the bill.