Inclusive collaboration across plant physiology and genomics: Now is the time!

Interdisciplinary Plant Science Consortium

Plant Direct


Within the broad field of plant sciences, what are the most pressing challenges and opportunities to advance? Answers to this question usually include food and nutritional security, climate change mitigation, adaptation of plants to changing climates, preservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, production of plant-based proteins and products, and growth of the bioeconomy. Genes and the processes their products carry out create differences in how plants grow, develop, and behave, and thus, the key solutions to these challenges lie squarely in the space where plant genomics and physiology intersect. Advancements in genomics, phenomics, and analysis tools have generated massive datasets, but these data are complex and have not always generated scientific insights at the anticipated pace. Further, new tools may need to be created or adapted, and field-relevant applications tested, to advance scientific discovery derived from such datasets. Meaningful, relevant conclusions and connections from genomics and plant physiological and biochemical data require both subject matter expertise and the collaborative skills needed to work together outside of specific disciplines. Bringing the best expertise to bear on complex problems in plant sciences requires enhanced, inclusive, and sustained collaboration across disciplines. However, despite significant efforts to enable and sustain collaborative research, a variety of challenges persist. Here, we present the outcomes and conclusions of two workshops convened to address the need for collaboration between scientists engaged in plant physiology, genetics, and genomics and to discuss the approaches that will create the necessary environments to support successful collaboration. We conclude with approaches to share and reward collaboration and the need to train inclusive scientists that will have the skills to thrive in interdisciplinary contexts.