USDA Funds $1.9 Million for Next Phase of Genome-Phenome Collaboration | Nebraska today

An interdisciplinary collaboration linking genetic sciences with the study of crop and animal traits, or phenotypes, has received a new funding boost of $1.9 million from we National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is one of three universities to take leadership roles in the Multi-Institutional Agricultural Genomics Initiative to Phenome.

The initiative that won two previous rounds of Neva Funding, fosters collaboration between crop and livestock scientists with colleagues in areas including data science, statistics, engineering, and the social sciences. Through this interdisciplinary process, the project aims to advance the understanding of the performance of crops and animals under changing conditions such as weather, environments, and production systems. Such findings, linking genetic analysis to observable phenotypic traits of crops and animals, could enable more efficient adoption of well-adapted genotypes for use by farmers and ranchers.

The project also aims to strengthen the scientific infrastructure that enables large-scale collection and analysis of AG data, and expand research opportunities for early-career scientists.

“This award from US Department of Agriculture Neva It will provide competitive research funds to address gaps in our knowledge of how genes direct important agricultural traits in crops and livestock, said Jennifer Clark, principal investigator who administers AG2PI Grant seed and director of the Quantitative Life Sciences Initiative in Nebraska.

“The pioneering work supported by this initiative is beginning to provide scientists and educators with the tools to adapt agricultural systems to improve their profitability and make them more sustainable and resilient in the face of climate change,” said Patrick Schnabel, a plant geneticist at Iowa State University. New Grant Project Manager.

Neva Launched two years ago as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, the Agricultural Genomics Initiative to Phenomen is the project’s third and largest award. The first three years US Department of Agriculture The award was directed towards building a multidisciplinary community of researchers. The second award focused on expanding the Small Grants Program to enlist the participation and innovation of researchers across the country.

To date, seed grants have supported 27 research projects with levels ranging from $15,000 to $100,000. This third award will expand the grant program with larger “coconut” (large seed) level grants of up to $250,000, allowing for greater scope and impact.

Clark, a professor in the Department of Statistics and the Nebraska Department of Food Science and Technology, said. “This award will make it worthwhile for such teams to invest more deeply to address relevant issues for the benefit of both agriculture and society.”

Nurturing researchers just starting out in their careers has been one of the goals of the program: Of the 142 initial grants team members and collaborators, about a third consider themselves in the early stages of their careers.

Since its inception, the national team has sponsored or co-sponsored an ambitious array of virtual field days, workshops, and mini-conferences. The initiative’s products also include a collection of white papers on relevant research, opportunities, gaps, and challenges. In early September, the initiative hosted a mixed conference with US Department of Agriculture Neva in Ames, Iowa, to bring together researchers and other experts from diverse institutions to visualize the future work of agricultural genomes to phenomes. Recordings from these events can be accessed at Initiative website.

despite everything US Department of Agriculture The funds are still in the United States, and researchers from more than 155 countries have participated in the project’s field days and workshops.

“We are reaching out to researchers all over the world,” Schnabel said. “While the AG2PI The program focuses on increasing profitability, sustainability, and resilience here in the United States, agriculture is a global endeavor, and the scientific benefits when collaboration comes from everywhere. “

This latest round of funding will “enable the broader scientific community to support the sustainability and profitability of our national agricultural production systems. We have a comprehensive and comprehensive plan to allocate this money in order to ensure broad and diverse participation by researchers, producers and stakeholders,” Clark said.

Other leaders to receive the new scholarship include Christopher K. Tugel and Jack cm Dekkers, professors of animal sciences at Iowa State University, and Brenda M. Murdoch, associate professor of animal sciences, veterinary medicine, and food at the University of Idaho. A stakeholder panel of nearly 20 industry organizations is chaired by David Ertel, director of technology marketing for the Iowa Corn Growers Association.

“Genome-to-phenome research will have far-reaching implications,” Ertel said. “It will allow breeders to create improved varieties faster, allow farmers to produce more resilient crops and livestock, and give consumers more choices for sustainably produced food.”

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