Functional and Applied Genomics

The Department of Functional and Applied Genomics (DFAG) has capitalized on the rapidly accumulating catalogue of genome sequence data to fuel a discovery engine that takes us from gene to function to target to useful products. In the context of plant-based research, the major aim of the DFAG is to develop new traits that allow the sustainable production of biopolymers, which are the most abundant organic compounds in the world and the major constituent of plant cells. Seven main classes of biopolymers are distinguished according to their chemical structures, and the DFAG has active research projects underway into three of these classes: starch, natural rubber and a particular type of protein-based polymer (forisomes). In addition, DFAG further research interests are to improve plant biomass by utilization of the tobacco forever young effect.