The sequence of the first plant genome was completed and published at the end of 2000. This spawned a series of large-scale projects aimed at discovering the functions of the 25,000+ genes identified in Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis). This review summarizes progress made in the past five years and speculates about future developments in Arabidopsis research and its implications for crop science. The provision of large populations of gene disruption lines to the research community has greatly accelerated the impact of genomics on many areas of plant science. The tools and community organization required for plant integrative and systems biology approaches are now ready to accomplish the next big step in plant biology--the integration of knowledge and modeling of biological processes. In the future, plant science will continue to be enriched by the alignment of high-quality basic research (generally conducted in Arabidopsis), with strategic objectives in crop plants. The sequence and analysis of an increasing number of crop plant genomes enhance this alignment and provide new insights into genome evolution and crop plant domestication.
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