The Microbial and Plant Genomics Institute

Members of the Microbial and Plant Genomics Institute are faculty who are interested in the successful development and application of genomics and the resulting societal and environmental impact. The Institute is a collaboration between the College of Biological Sciences, the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.

Advances in genomics have already had a major impact on how we conduct modern biological experimentation. The flood of information acquired via genomics research and its application to biological problems make it extremely challenging to predict where the field of genomics will be in the next ten years.

Progress in discovering the function of the majority of sequenced genes is even less predictable, but it seems likely that in ten years, most genes will have functions assigned and we will be investigating their complex interactions - overall, an activity known as “functional genomics.”

A critical question facing biologists will be how genomic information and technologies will be utilized for investigating biological questions that range from the basic to applied science in microbes and plants, an activity defined as “translational genomics.” The interactions of plants and microbes in nature are prevalent and useful in agriculture, making the combination of microbial and plant genomics even more important.

The scientific aim of the Institute is to enhance the development of functional and translational genomics concomitantly with the expansion of bioinformatics capabilities and the development of specialized instrumentation.

Within the University community, the Institute facilitates crosscutting communications among faculty engaged in diverse areas of genomics research. Building public awareness about genomics and its applications in a social and ethical context is one of MPGI's outreach functions. In addition, training outstanding students for the 21st century in this important biological field is a major goal. These are among the activities designed to bring benefits from genomics to Minnesotans, the nation, and the world.