Original NSF Proposal
"From the genome to the tree of life"
NSF Proposal Body Bibliography Initial Core Participant's statements
1. Results from Prior Support 5. Examples: Research Integrating Genomics / Phylogenetics
2. Background: Phylogenetics / Evolution 6. Proposed Coordination Activities
3. Background: Genomics 7. Management / Coordination Mechanisms
4. Theme: Research Coordination Group 8. Significance

Section 8: Significance

  • Even with the progress that has been made previously on green plant phylogenetics, many critical parts of the tree for understanding the traits which led to the diversification of land plants remain unresolved, including: the specific sister group of the land plants, the relationships among the major basal lineages of the land plants, and the relationships among seed plants. This proposal will result in new kinds of genomics data applied in new synthetic analyses that will resolve these areas, and allow strong inference about homology and directionality among functional character states
  • Likewise, this proposal will result in new approaches to genomics questions. Much can be learned about function of genes by examing them in one plant, however, a much richer array of toods is available using a comparative approach. Close sister-group comparisons between lineages differing in a critical phenotype (e.g., desiccation or freeze tolerance) can allow a quick narrowing of the search for genetic causes. Dissecting a complicated, evolutionarily advanced genotype/phenotype complex (e.g., development of the angiosperm flower), by tracing the components back to simpler ancestral systems, can lead to quicker understanding.
  • Prospects for genetic engineering of crop plants (e.g., for desiccation-tolerance) will be greatly improved by better evolutionary and ecological understanding of the genes involved and where they came from. Thus, this proposal is an exciting new approach to identifying genes central to key organism functions, to understanding their phylogenetic homologies and their phenotypic expressions, and thus to understanding evolution in a new, integrated way.
  • The educational activities at all levels to be sponsored by the proposal will thus result in the development of new kinds of science and scientists. The Deep Green Group has alreadydemonstrated its abilities to do collaborative work, and is ready to take that work to an even deeper level

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