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US Department of Energy to Provide $30M for Plant Functional Genomics Research

NEW YORK – The US Department of Energy said on Monday that it plans to provide up to $30 million for basic research that would lead to methods to validate gene function in plants relevant to sustainable bioenergy and bioproducts.

Grants will support research to address the challenge of associating gene function in plants relevant to energy production and the environment, with the goal of elucidating and validating the functional roles of genes, gene families, and associated pathways.

Applications will be open to universities, industry, and nonprofit research institutions, with collaborators at the DOE national laboratories and other federal agencies. Total planned funding is $30 million over three years, with each year's funding contingent on congressional appropriations.

"Understanding the functional roles of genes for critical plant processes will help us gain a predictive understanding of plant performance under adverse environmental conditions,” Sharlene Weatherwax, DOE associate director of science for biological and environmental science, said in a statement. "These advances, in turn, could enable development of plants for bioenergy and bioproducts that are productive on land unsuitable for traditional agricultural crops, improving our energy security and environmental stewardship."

A preapplication is required for the program. DOE said each grant will range in size from $250,000 to $1 million. The grant was posted Dec. 16, and the submission deadline is March 25, 2022.