Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists decipher genetic code of wheat

Date:
November 28, 2012
Source:
University of Liverpool
Summary:
Scientists have deciphered the genetic code of wheat to help crop breeders increase yield and produce varieties that are better suited to a changing environment.

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have deciphered the genetic code of wheat to help crop breeders increase yield and produce varieties that are better suited to a changing environment.

Wheat is one of the world's most important food crops, accounting for 20% of the world's calorific intake. Global wheat production, however, is under threat from climate change and an increase in demand from a growing human population.

The Liverpool team, at the University's Centre for Genomic Research, used new methods of sequencing DNA to decode the large wheat genome, which meant that scientists could achieve in one year what would have taken decades to do with previous methods. With a team of UK and international collaborators, they developed a novel way of analysing wheat's genetic information to provide breeders with the tools they need to apply the research to breeding programmes.

Funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and published in the journal, Nature, the analysis of more than 90,000 genes, will help wheat breeders produce crop that are better able to cope with disease, drought and other stresses that cause crop losses.

Professor Neil Hall, from the University's Institute of Integrative Biology and lead author of the research, said: "Wheat is a large and complex genome; arguably the most complex genome to be sequenced to date. Although the genome has not been fully decoded, we now have instrumentation that can read DNA hundreds of times faster than the systems that were used to sequence the human genome.

"This technology can now be applied to other genomes previously considered to be too difficult for detailed genetic study, such as sugar cane, an important biofuel crop."

In order to understand the variations of wheat genes and their relationship to each other, scientists, in collaboration with colleagues at the Institute of Bioinformatics and Systems Biology in Germany, compared the genetic sequence to known grass genes, such as rice and barley. Partners at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the University of California in the US, also compared the sequences to simpler genomes of wheat's ancestors.

This allowed the team to assemble the data in a way that scientists and plant breeders can use effectively to produce new wheat varieties that display specific traits suitable for surviving in different environments. The team worked with the John Innes Centre in identifying genetic differences between varieties, which have now been developed by scientists at the University of Bristol as landmarks in the genome to help crop breeders improve wheat grown in the UK.

Dr Anthony Hall, from the University Institute of Integrative Biology and co-author of the research, said: "Understanding wheat's genetic information and lining up its data into a form that crop breeders can use, will help develop wheat that has particular agricultural traits, such as disease resistance and drought tolerance.

"The identification of genetic markers in the genome will help breeders accelerate the wheat breeding process and integrate multiple traits in a single breeding programme. This research is contributing to ongoing work to tackle the problem of global food shortage."

Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "In the face of this year's wheat crop losses, and worries over the impact on prices for consumers, this breakthrough in our understanding of the bread wheat genome could not have come at a better time. This modern strategy is a key component to supporting food security and gives breeders the tools to produce more robust varieties with higher yields."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Liverpool. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rachel Brenchley, Manuel Spannagl, Matthias Pfeifer, Gary L. A. Barker, Rosalinda D’Amore, Alexandra M. Allen, Neil McKenzie, Melissa Kramer, Arnaud Kerhornou, Dan Bolser, Suzanne Kay, Darren Waite, Martin Trick, Ian Bancroft, Yong Gu, Naxin Huo, Ming-Cheng Luo, Sunish Sehgal, Bikram Gill, Sharyar Kianian, Olin Anderson, Paul Kersey, Jan Dvorak, W. Richard McCombie, Anthony Hall, Klaus F. X. Mayer, Keith J. Edwards, Michael W. Bevan, Neil Hall. Analysis of the bread wheat genome using whole-genome shotgun sequencing. Nature, 2012; 491 (7426): 705 DOI: 10.1038/nature11650

Cite This Page:

University of Liverpool. "Scientists decipher genetic code of wheat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121128132303.htm>.
University of Liverpool. (2012, November 28). Scientists decipher genetic code of wheat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121128132303.htm
University of Liverpool. "Scientists decipher genetic code of wheat." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121128132303.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
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:

More Coverage


Scientists Sequence the Wheat Genome in Breakthrough for Global Food Security

Nov. 28, 2012 An international team of scientists has completed a "shotgun sequencing" of the wheat genome. The achievement is expected to increase wheat yields, help feed the world and speed up ... read more
from the past week

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