THE WORLD'S MOST IMPORTANT WEED
Who would think that something so small, could be so precious? Arabidopsis thaliana is a small flowering plant that has become a reference organism for plant research, providing breakthroughs in both plant and basic biology. The success of Arabidopsis has been driven by strong investment over several decades, which has generated a fully annotated genome (Arabidopsis was the first plant to have its genome sequenced), a wealth of tools, resources, innovative research programmes, and most importantly a vibrant and collegiate community of researchers which are spread across the globe. For example, over 300 research groups in the UK utilise the model plant Arabidopsis in their studies.
A POTTED HISTORY
GARNet is a BBSRC sponsored network set up to support Arabidopsis and the wider plant community.
Initially established in 2000 via the BBSRC IGF initiative GARNet’s aim was to provide UK Arabidopsis researchers with access to genomic tools and resources such as transcriptomics, metabolomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, genomic clones and transposon tagged lines.
After four productive years of facilitating the adoption of functional genomics, the role of GARNet was revised to support the transition to systems biology. From 2004-2009 GARNet’s efforts to promote systems biology in the plant sciences were extremely productive; during this period GARNet assisted the Arabidopsis and wider plant community in obtaining over £31m investment in plant systems biology in the UK.
In 2009, GARNet was awarded a further 5 years of funding from BBSRC to help expand the uptake of systems biology, explore the use of synthetic biology and help promote translational research. This was extended for a further five years in 2014, to take GARNet through until 2020.
You can find out more about GARNet's activities and achievements to date in this slideshow.
The need to translate basic knowledge, accrued in models such as Arabidopsis, into practical application is now more important than ever before. Given the current global pressures, such as an increasing demand for food, competition for land use and climate change - time is not on our side.
During the coming years (2014-2020), GARNet will continue to assist Arabidopsis and plant scientists make the best possible progress in their day-to-day research and maintain their competitiveness on the international stage by:
1. Providing relevant information on funding, tools and resources via its newsletter, mailing list and website
2. Acting as a point of contact for researchers and funding agencies
3. Promoting interactions between fundamental and applied plant science
4. Helping to increase opportunities for UK Arabidopsis scientists at the international level.
A GARNET COLLECTIVE
GARNet represents the UK Arabidopsis community via its committee of elected members. The current GARNet committee chair is Professor David Salt (University of Aberdeen).
GET IN TOUCH
GARNet is a community network and we are here to help you so please get in touch if you have any news, ideas you’d like to share or if you have feedback on the site.