The National Science Foundation gave young investigators interested in plant genomics a New Year's present: money, in the form of a research grant competition just for them. In a statement released on Dec. 28, 2001, Mary Clutter, assistant director of NSF's Biological Sciences Directorate, said the program, called YIA-PGR, "seeks to increase participation of young scientists in [NSF's] plant genome research, especially those at institutions that have not participated in its plant genome research program [PGRP] in the past.1

NSF has been a key player in funding plant genomics—it spearheaded the effort to unlock the genetic blueprint of the tiny mustard plant Arabidopsis.2 Following that, the agency launched its 2010 Project to identify each of Arabidopsis' nearly 26,000 genes.3 Other awards targeted the genomes of agronomically important plants such as cotton, soybean, rice, and sorghum.4 The young investigator program adds to the more...

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