The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded nearly US$60 million in grants for plant-genome science, most of which will go towards research in crop species.

On 27 October, the NSF assigned $3.2 million for work probing how genetic and biochemical pathways help Medicago truncatula — a model organism for legume research — adapt to high-salinity conditions. That project is being led by scientists at the University of Southern California. Another of the 20 grants was given to researchers at Pennsylvania State University in University Park. The team received $4.8 million to look into the genes that function during the growth of maize (corn) shoots, which is regulated by the hormone auxin.

And in Britain, the government's science think tank, the Foresight Programme, wants to know how to feed nine billion people equitably, healthily and sustainably. It is launching a study into what the world's farming needs might be in 2050, the findings for which should be available in 2010.

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