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Msu-doe plant research laboratory

The meaning of «msu-doe plant research laboratory»

The MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory (PRL), commonly referred to as Plant Research Lab, is a research institute funded to a large extent by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and located at Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing, Michigan. The Plant Research Lab was founded in 1965, and it currently includes twelve laboratories that conduct collaborative basic research into the biology of diverse photosynthetic organisms, including plants, bacteria, and algae, in addition to developing new technologies towards addressing energy and food challenges.

The contract for the establishment of the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory was signed on March 6, 1964 between the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and Michigan State University.[1]: 6  The institute was initially funded by the AEC's Division of Biology and Medicine, which saw a need for improving the state of plant sciences in the United States. The Division aimed to create a new program at one or more universities where student interest in plant research could be fostered.[2]: 37 

The contract signed between AEC and Michigan State University provided for a comprehensive research program in plant biology and related education and training at the graduate and postgraduate levels. The program was to draw strongly on related disciplines such as biochemistry, biophysics, genetics, microbiology, and others.

In 1966, personnel of the new program - called MSU-AEC Plant Research Laboratory at that time - moved into their new quarters in the Plant Biology Laboratories building at Michigan State University. The first research projects generally focused on problems specific to plants, such as cell growth and its regulation by plant hormones, cell wall structure and composition, and the physiology of flower formation; other research projects addressed general biological problems, such as the regulation of enzyme formation during development and cellular and genetic aspects of hormone action.

In the 1970s, federal funding of the Plant Research Lab changed hands a number of times. The AEC was abolished following the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, and its functions were assigned to two new agencies. In 1975, the Plant Research Lab thus found itself supported by the newly formed Energy Research and Development Administration, which in turn, was consolidated into the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 1978.[3][4] The institute's name was modified in step with the changes at the federal level, finally settling on its current name, MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory.

The DOE broadened the laboratory's mandate to look at basic plant processes, especially regarding the growth of plants as a renewable resource, with the focus of research shifting to modern plant molecular biology. During that period, Plant Research Lab scientists were among the pioneers who introduced the use of the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, into plant biology.[5][6]

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