Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wheat's genetic code cracked: Draft sequence coverage of genome to aid global food shortage

Date:
August 27, 2010
Source:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Summary:
A team of UK researchers has publicly released the first sequence coverage of the wheat genome. The release is a step towards a fully annotated genome and makes a significant contribution to efforts to support global food security.

Five times larger than the human genome, the wheat genome will provide scientists with clues to improving future crops.
Credit: iStockphoto/Elena Elisseeva

A team of UK researchers, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), has publicly released the first sequence coverage of the wheat genome. The release is a step towards a fully annotated genome and makes a significant contribution to efforts to support global food security and to increase the competitiveness of UK farming.

The genome sequences released comprise five read-throughs of a reference variety of wheat and give scientists and breeders access to 95% of all wheat genes. This is among the largest genome projects undertaken, and the rapid public release of the data is expected to accelerate significantly the use of the information by wheat breeding companies.

The team involved Prof Neil Hall and Dr Anthony Hall at the University of Liverpool, Prof Keith Edwards and Dr Gary Barker at the University of Bristol and Prof Mike Bevan at the John Innes Centre, a BBSRC-funded Institute.

Prof Edwards said: "The wheat genome is five times larger than the human genome and presents a huge challenge for scientists. The genome sequences are an important tool for researchers and for plant breeders and by making the data publicly available we are ensuring this publicly funded research has the widest possible impact."

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: "This is an outstanding world class contribution by the UK to the global effort to completely map the wheat genome. By using gene sequencing technology developed in the UK we now have the capability to improve the crops of the future by simply accelerating the natural breeding process to select varieties that can thrive in challenging conditions."

The genome data released are in a 'raw' format, comprising sequence reads of the wheat genome in the form of letters representing the genetic 'code'. A complete copy of the genome requires further read-throughs, significant work on annotation and the assembly of the data into chromosomes. Large-scale, rapid sequencing programmes such as this have been made technically feasible by advanced technology genome sequencing platforms, including one based on BBSRC-funded research conducted in the UK in the 1990s.The majority of the sequencing work for this particular project was done using the 454 Life Science platform, developed in the US.

Prof Hall said: "The genome sequence data of this reference variety, Chinese Spring wheat, will now allow us to probe differences between varieties with different characteristics. By understanding the genetic differences between varieties with different traits we can start to develop new types of wheat better able to cope with drought, salinity or able to deliver higher yields. This will help to protect our food security while giving UK plant breeders and farmers a competitive advantage."

The sequence data can be used by scientists and plant breeders to develop new varieties through accelerated conventional breeding or other technologies.

Prof Bevan, a member of the Coordinating Committee of the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, said: "The sequence coverage will provide an important foundation for international efforts aimed at generating a complete genome sequence of wheat in the next few years."

Prof Doug Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "Recent short-term price spikes in the wheat markets have shown how vulnerable our food system is to shocks and potential shortages. The best way to support our food security is by using modern research strategies to understand how we can deliver sustainable increases in crop yields, especially in the face of climate change. Genome sequencing of this type is an absolutely crucial strategy, building on previous BBSRC-funded work. Knowledge of these genome sequences will now allow plant breeders to identify the best genetic sequences to use as markers in accelerated breeding programmes."

Dr Jane Rogers, Member of the Coordinating Committee of the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium and Director of BBSRC's The Genome Analysis Centre, said: "The public release of the wheat genome data will be a useful resource for scientists and the plant breeding community and will provide a foundation to identify genetic differences between wheat varieties. In recent years genomics technology has advanced to a point that scientists can now produce sequence data for plants with genomes as large as wheat at a rate unimaginable a few years ago. This is an impressive achievement, notwithstanding the significant hurdles we still face to fully interpret and understand the data."

A key feature of this research has been the quick release of the data into the public domain to allow other scientists and wheat breeding companies to rapidly employ it in practical applications. Richard Summers, Vice Chairman of the British Society of Plant Breeders, said: "The wheat breeding community has been greatly impressed with the collaborative approach taken in this project. The team brought together world class skills in sequencing and wheat genetics to deal with a major barrier in wheat breeding. This is an excellent example of how to achieve technology transfer from research lab through to practical deployment."

BBSRC is a partner in Global Food Security, a multi-agency programme that brings together the food-related research interests of Research Councils, Government Departments and Executive Agencies.

The genome sequences released are five-fold coverage of the reference bread wheat variety Chinese Spring line 42. This gives the researchers access to an estimated 95% of genes in this variety of wheat. The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, which the UK participates in, is working towards a complete genome sequence of Chinese Spring. The full sequenced genome requires further read-throughs, assembly of the data into chromosomes and significant work to fully annotate the sequence data.

For more information on the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium see: www.wheatgenome.org


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Wheat's genetic code cracked: Draft sequence coverage of genome to aid global food shortage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100827082155.htm>.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. (2010, August 27). Wheat's genetic code cracked: Draft sequence coverage of genome to aid global food shortage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100827082155.htm
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Wheat's genetic code cracked: Draft sequence coverage of genome to aid global food shortage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100827082155.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins