In different European countries a national plant genome initiative or program arose recently, or is being established. Plant genome research is becoming more and more important and can lead to major advancement of scientific knowledge of benefit for improving the life quality and food basis for the European and global population. In order for Europe to fully benefit from these developments a strong, and vital European basis will need to be created. Plant Gems intends to help in the establishment of such a basis by organising a European genomes and functionalgenomics meeting, advancing the exchange of information between the national initiatives, framework 5 plant genome projects and industry. The creation of cohesive European plant genome research community should help avoiding unnecessary duplications of effort and improve the European scientific and economic position. We intend this to be the first of a series of annual meetings.