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Jonathan Wendel, Botany, (515) 294-7172
Dave Gieseke, Liberal Arts and Sciences, (515) 294-7742
Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778


AMES, Iowa -- Jonathan Wendel, professor of botany at Iowa State University, has been awarded a five-year, $4.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the comparative evolutionary genomics of cotton.

Plant genomic research provides scientific understanding of the structure and function of genomes of plants that are important to agriculture, environmental management, energy and health.

Wendel's research could provide new insights into central problems in development and evolution. In his project, morphological, evolutionary and genomic approaches will be integrated in an analysis of the genetic basis of the developmental transformations that occurred during cotton fiber evolution. Wendel will work with researchers at the University of Georgia and the University of Arizona on the project.

"The more we understand about cotton, the greater economic spin-off there will be," Wendel said. "This project will contribute significantly to the enhancement of the world's leading textile fiber through the development of important tools and resources necessary for long-term sustainability."

The grant is part of a $75.6 million NSF program that will support 23 collaborative research projects in plant genomics. This year's competition emphasized collaborative research in functional genomics, including development of tools to facilitate gene expression studies. Wendel is affiliated with the Laurence H. Baker Center for Bioinformatics and Biological Statistics, one of nine research centers in Iowa State's Plant Sciences Institute.


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