Life on Earth would be impossible without plants. Humans rely on plants for most clothing, furniture, food, as well as for many pharmaceuticals and other products. Plant genome sciences are essential to understanding how plants function and how to develop desirable plant characteristics. For example, plant genomic science can contribute to the development of plants that are drought-resistant, those that require less fertilizer, and those that are optimized for conversion to fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.
The National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI) is a unique, cross-agency funding enterprise that has been funding and coordinating plant genome research successfully for nine years. Research breakthroughs from NPGI and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Arabidopsis 2010 Project, such as how the plant immune system controls pathogen defense, demonstrate that the plant genome science community is vibrant and capable of driving technological advancement. This book from the National Research Council concludes that these programs should continue so that applied programs on agriculture, bioenergy, and others will always be built on a strong foundation of fundamental plant biology research.
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