NYU s Center for Genomics & Systems Biology Receives $4.4 Million NSF Grant to Seed New Research in Plant Systems Biology


New York University’s Center for Genomics & Systems Biology has received a $4.4 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant in which NYU researchers will seek to identify genes on a genome-wide scale that underlie crop traits selected when farmers began cultivating rice 10,000 years ago.

Michael Purugganan
Michael Purugganan

New York University’s Center for Genomics & Systems Biology has received a $4.4 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant in which NYU researchers will seek to identify genes on a genome-wide scale that underlie crop traits selected when farmers began cultivating rice 10,000 years ago.

“Using new, genome-wide techniques in evolutionary genomics, we can identify regions of the rice genome that contain genes important for grain size, plant height, and other traits that are involved in plant yield,” said NYU’s Michael Purugganan, the Dorothy Schiff Professor of Genomics and the project’s primary investigator.

NYU is the grant’s lead institution, with scientific collaborations coming from researchers at Purdue University, Washington University at St. Louis, and Cornell University.

“Rice is the most important food cereal crop in the world, feeding more people in human history than any other food crop,” Purugganan added. “More than half the world’s population is dependent on rice as its primary food source.”

The grant is one of 26 new awards totaling $85.8 million that NSF announced in mid-October to seed a research in a new field called Plant Systems Biology. The funding is part of its Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP), now in its 10th year.

These awards support research and tool development to further knowledge of genome structure and function through the analysis of genome wide interactions. They will also increase understanding of gene function and interactions between genomes and the environment i 500

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