Plant genomics: a new discipline in Botany

Gupta, P. K. (1999) Plant genomics: a new discipline in Botany Journal of the Indian Botanical Society, 78 . pp. 181-189. ISSN 0019-4468

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Plant genomics' is a new area of research in botany, which involves genome-wide studies. It can be classified into following two major areas of research: (i) structural genomics involving preparation of molecular maps, genome sequencing and a study of proteins (i.e. proteomics), and (ii) functional genomics involving development of expression sequence tags (ESTs) and study of expression profiles in different tissues at different developmental stages and under different biotic and abiotic stresses. Although, the Human Genome Project has been in progress for many years, the area of plant genomics research has developed mainly during the last three years. This became possible, because several advanced countries like USA have made large investments to develop extensive research programmes in this area to support agricultural biotechnology as a national priority. Private sector is also making huge investments exclusively and in collaboration with public establishments, to derive commercial benefits from this new area of research. Consequently billions of US dollars have been committed for plant genomics research, to be persued within the next 3-5 years. Hopefully, the information generated from plant genomics research will be utilized for crop improvement, an area which is sometimes described as 'application genomics', Most of this information, particularly that generated by public sector, will be accessible on line through web sites, and should be fruitfully utilized by developing countries like India, where the prospects of genomics research at the national level appear to be dismal due to a variety of factors, including its inability to make massive investments needed for this research.

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