The multinational Arabidopsis research community is highly collaborative and over the past thirty years these activities have been documented by the Multinational Arabidopsis Steering Committee (MASC). Here, we (a) highlight recent research advances made with the reference plant Arabidopsis thaliana; (b) provide summaries from recent reports submitted by MASC subcommittees, projects and resources associated with MASC and from MASC country representatives; and (c) initiate a call for ideas and foci for the “fourth decadal roadmap,” which will advise and coordinate the global activities of the Arabidopsis research community.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
GP is supported by UKRI-BBSRC grant GARNet2020 (BB/M004376/1) SMB is partially funded by an HHMI Faculty Scholar Fellowship. BU acknowledges support of his work by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (T?B?TAK) (Grant No: 118Z137).
Oversight of the Arabidopsis informatics strategy has largely fallen to the International Arabidopsis Informatics Consortium (IAIC), which was funded by the NSF until 2020. In 2018 IAIC hosted a workshop in St Louis and its “take home” recommendation was for the establishment of a centralized “annotation authority” to advise on submissions from groups for new gene names across the Arabidopsis pangenome, to establish a consistent naming scheme, to distribute this format regularly and frequently, and to encourage its adoption (International Arabidopsis Informatics Consortium, 2019 ). This article also recommends community‐established guidelines and standards for data and metadata formats alongside a searchable, central repository for analysis and visualization tools (such as https://conf.arabidopsis.org/display/COM/Resources ). Fortunately, the implementation of these recommendations will be facilitated by a closely linked international community and will undoubtedly be a topic discussed for inclusion within the next roadmap.
MASC Country representatives provide an opinion on the current status of Arabidopsis research in their countries. It is challenging to obtain a consistent metric for these evaluations as different countries will view their situation from different starting positions. For example, the United Kingdom publishes around 200 Arabidopsis papers per year and there is ~£8M in annual 'Responsive mode' Government funding for “Arabidopsis research” yet this represents a reduction in funding, so the situation is not as healthy as in previous years. However, other countries have low to no funding in research specifically dedicated to Arabidopsis, yet have a positive opinion toward research in this area, for example, “In Brazil even though there is virtually no such funding programs towards Arabidopsis, the number of institutions using Arabidopsis in their research is growing each year. We are seeing a gradual increase in the usage of Arabidopsis as a model plant for molecular and genetic studies due to its power as an easily manipulated model system to investigate gene functions.” Similarly in India, although there is no earmarked financial support for Arabidopsis research from the Government, scientists can compete for grants dedicated for basic science and many projects are regularly funded on Arabidopsis exclusively; “many more projects use Arabidopsis as a system to validate genes from crop plants. Consequently, the overall quality of publications….…has improved considerably.”
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- Arabidopsis thaliana
- Research Network
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article