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Plant Breeding, Genetics, & Genomics

NIFA Helps Plan the Future for the National Plant Genome Initiative

At the January 2009 Plant and Animal Genome meeting, the Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Plant Genomes presented its five-year plan (2009-2013). The IWG based this plan on a wide range of inputs from the broader community. The National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI) was established as a coordinated national research program by the IWG with representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The current IWG also includes the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Representing USDA on the IWG are Drs. Ed Kaleikau (NIFA), Judy St. John (ARS), and Carlos Rodriguez-Franco (FS).

Future research, education, and extension opportunities will:

  • Expand genomic resources for every major plant of economic importance - Integrated comparative sequence resources for grain and legume crops and fruits and vegetables; Survey sequence resources for thousands of plants using Next generation sequencing approaches; Mining plant diversity and genotyping of available germplasm resources for key crops;

  • Advance plant systems biology - Toolkits to enable systems-level analysis of key plant processes for water and nitrogen use efficiency and feedstock quality for bioenergy and carbon cycling;

  • Translate basic discovery to the field - New tools for high-throughput phenotyping under field conditions to accelerate trait evaluation; Breeding and transgenic approaches for improved local adaptation to biotic and abiotic stress for drought, heat, salinity, flooding, pests, and disease; Identification of useful genetic variation in the U.S. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) plant accessions targeting key traits of agronomic importance;

  • Develop coordinated solutions to data access, data analysis, and data synthesis – Data mining and visualization tools for functional genome annotation, comparative alignments across multiple whole genomes, and integration of multiple data types for breeder-centric map views;

  • Enhance education, training, and outreach - Traineeships for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers to enable cross-disciplinary training and new job opportunities for investigators at all levels; and

  • Broaden societal impacts - Public-private partnerships with industry, grower associations, and private foundations; International research coordination and cooperation.



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