High quality genome sequence will revolutionize wheat crops Read more

IMAGE Wheat harvest  view more  Credit Edwin Remsberg Remsberg Inc

The wheat research work provides a new foundation to improve production and response to disease threats, enhance wheat quality, and better prepare an industry adapting to climate change.

The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) is a detailed description of the genome of bread wheat, which is the most widely cultivated crop in the world.

The research effort involved 73 institutes in 20 countries and will allow the faster breeding and production of new wheat varieties, including those that are drought and frost tolerant.

The world population is expected to grow to 9.6 billion by the year 2050.

At MSU, Budak and colleagues in the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology recently sequenced a Montana barley cultivar, Hackett, and they're now working on sequencing a Montana winter wheat cultivar, Yellowstone.

The wheat has a large, complex genome with 16 billion base pairs or the building blocks of DNA, more than five times larger than the human genome. The article presents the reference genome of the bread wheat variety Chinese Spring. International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, details the sequence of the plant's 21 chromosomes.

In order to preserve biodiversity, water and nutrient resources, the majority of this increase must be achieved through crop and trait improvement on now cultivated land.

An worldwide team has produced the most comprehensive genome map of wheat, which paved the way for more nutritious and climate-adapted varieties of a staple crop that feeds over one-third of the global population. They will be able to more rapidly identify genes and regulatory elements underlying complex agronomic traits such as yield, grain quality, resistance to fungal diseases and tolerance to physical stress - and produce hardier wheat varieties. "The sequence of the bread wheat genome has already had a positive effect on wheat improvement, which not only affects the science behind wheat breeding, but has a long-lasting positive outcome in regard to wheat producer productivity, profitability and, ultimately, livelihoods".

Philippa Borrill, Research Fellow at the John Innes Centre says: 'The years of work that went into decoding the wheat genome are just the beginning.

The complete sequence of the huge wheat genome is published this week, and the enormous dataset will accelerate innovation in breeding resilient and disease resistant crops to feed a growing global population. Allan Fritz, one of the authors, from Kansas State University, said.

Cristobal Uauy, Project Leader in crop genetics at the John Innes Centre says: 'Genomic knowledge of other crops has driven progress in selecting and breeding important traits.

"What that's really done is to really open up the wheat engine for us, to look at what's there and to help us to refine and develop the crop for adapting to change in the environment".

Reference: "Shifting the limits in wheat research and breeding using a fully annotated reference genome".

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