When scientists announced the genomic sequence of the small mustard plant Arabidopsis last December, they also recognized the role played by federal agencies in supporting the project, particularly the role played by the National Science Foundation.1 Among NSF staffers, researchers chose DeLill Nasser, head of NSF's eukoryotic genetics program, for special mention.2,3 Nasser was too ill with cancer to accept an award from the group in person at a special Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory meeting Dec. 7. Says Philip Harriman, program director for microbial genetics at NSF, "She funded a lot of the people who established Arabidopsis as a model genetic organism in the 1980s. She then handled NSF funding for the sequencing work. The whole field is indebted to her for support." Nasser died shortly after the Arabidopsis sequence was published.
In her 22 years as program director, Nasser promoted other important projects, including research...
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