The goal of the DOE JGI Plant Genome Program is to shed light on the fundamental biology of photosynthesis and transduction of solar to chemical energy. Other areas of interest include characterizing:
- Ecosystems and the role of terrestrial plants and oceanic phytoplankton-in carbon sequestration.
- The role of plants in coping with toxic pollutants in soils by hyper-accumulation and detoxification.
- Feedstocks for biofuels, e.g., biodiesel from soybean; cellulosic fuel from perennial grasses.
- The ability to respond to environmental change (e.g., loss of diversity from monoculture produces vulnerabilities; nitrogen fixing nodules in legumes reduce fertilizer need).
- The generation of useful secondary metabolites (produced largely for disease resistance)- for positive/negative control in agriculture, with attendant influence on global carbon cycle.
The Plant Genome Program accomplishes the above through the following activities:
- Sequence. Produce genome sequences of key plant (and algal) species to accelerate biofuel development and understand response to climate change.
- Function. Develop datasets (and synthetic biology tools) to elucidate functional elements in plant genomes, with special focus on handful of “flagship” genomes.
- Variation. Characterize natural genomic variation in plants (and their associated microbiomes), and relate to biofuel sustainability and adaptation to climate change.
- Integration. Provide a centralized hub for the retrieval and deep integrated analysis of plant genome datasets.