$5.3M NSF grant will help discover new plant chemicals, find genes

A team of Michigan State University researchers has been awarded a $5.3 million National Science Foundation grant to explore new approaches to discovering plant chemicals, and find the genes that plants use to make valuable molecules.

September 16, 2016

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Robert Last

A team of Michigan State University (MSU) researchers has been awarded a $5.3 million National Science Foundation grant to explore new approaches to discovering plant chemicals, and find the genes that plants use to make valuable molecules.

According to MSU biochemistry and molecular biology Barnett Rosenberg Professor and MSU AgBioResearch scientist Robert Last, who is leading the project, the research will examine metabolites – small molecules with wide-ranging applications to human wellbeing, from food to fuels to pharmaceuticals.

“Specialized metabolites comprise hundreds of thousands of compounds throughout the plant kingdom, but we know how very few of them are made,” Last said. “Plants are responsible for the production of most of the materials that contribute to our diet, drugs, building materials, clothing, and many important industrial chemicals.”

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Mark Kuykendall

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