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Agricultural News

Wheat Genome Breakthrough Announced in England

Sat, 28 Aug 2010 6:33:40 CDT

Wheat Genome Breakthrough Announced in England
A team of researchers in the United Kingdom, funded by the UK government's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), announced Friday that they have publicly released sequence coverage of the wheat genome.

All genetic material in the world is made up of proteins known by the first letters of their names, A, C, G and T. With the information announced this week, scientists now know the order of the vast majority of the letters in the wheat genome, though they have yet to translate the code to know what the letter sequences mean.

The genome data released are in a "raw" format, meaning a complete copy of the genome requires significant work on annotation and the assembly of the data into chromosomes.

This draft release is a step toward a version of the genome that will help breeders around the world gain deeper understanding of the crop and the genetic differences between varieties.

The wheat genome is five times larger than the human genome, a product of its evolution over thousands of years from wild varieties to domesticated ones worked on extensively by wheat breeders around the globe.

The UK project has been developed as a collaborative effort of the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) that was launched by U.S. growers in 2005 to obtain a high quality reference genome sequence for bread wheat.

"This is a first step toward developing a significant pool of publicly available single nucleotide polymorphism resources that breeders can use to understand the genetic underpinnings of different wheat varieties," said Kellye Eversole, executive director of the IWGSC. "In turn, this will help breeders develop better wheat varieties."

Click here for more on this announcement and additional links to study this breakthrough more fully.



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