awarded 72 grants totaling $9 million in the plant genome area. "Since [the plant genome program] started in 1991," he said, "there has been money put toward about 50 different species." NRI also funds research into animal genomes. But whether the support comes from NRI or as part of a broader agricultural genome project, workshop participants agreed that investigator-initiated research will be the most effective way to pursue such specialized investigations as how a gene's structure is related to its function.

Finally, many researchers at the workshop stated that things are changing so quickly in the area of genomic research that any genome plan should be flexible enough to take advantage of advances and new understandings as they come along. "I wonder if it wouldn't make sense to suggest that you emulate the five-year planning process that the Human Genome Project undertook in 1989, 1990," said Daniel Drell, a biologist with the Department of Energy. "It basically involves getting affected scientists, those who can contribute, to work up a draft five-year plan and then circulate it and see what reaction it elicits." And then, of course, Copeland said, keep in mind that the five-year plans will certainly be obsolete long before the end of five years. ''In going back and looking at the 1991, 1995 projections for what would happen in the mouse and the human genome projects, what we have learned is that all these projections have been way underestimated. We have gone much beyond where anybody could have even dreamed that we would be right now.''

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement