Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
AgriGenomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Major Breakthrough in Deciphering Bread Wheat's Genetic Code

Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Bookmark and Share
UK, German and US scientists decipher complex genetic code to create new tools for breeders and researchers across the world.

Scientists, including Professor Keith Edwards and Dr Gary Barker from the University of Bristol, have unlocked key components of the genetic code of one of the world’s most important crops. The first analysis of the complex and exceptionally large bread wheat genome, published today in Nature, is a major breakthrough in breeding wheat varieties that are more productive and better able to cope with disease, drought and other stresses that cause crop losses.

The identification of around 96,000 wheat genes, and insights into the links between them, lays strong foundations for accelerating wheat improvement through advanced molecular breeding and genetic engineering. The research contributes to directly improving food security by facilitating new approaches to wheat crop improvement that will accelerate the production of new wheat varieties and stimulate new research. The analysis comes just two years after UK researchers finished generating the sequence.

The project was led by Neil Hall, Mike Bevan, Keith Edwards, Klaus Mayer, from the University of Liverpool, the John Innes Centre, the University of Bristol, and the Institute of Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, Helmholtz-Zentrum, Munich, respectively, and Anthony Hall at the University of Liverpool.  W. Richard McCombie at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and Jan Dvorak at the Univerisity of California, Davis, led the US contribution to the project.

The team sifted through vast amounts of DNA sequence data, effectively translating the sequence into something that scientists and plant breeders can use effectively. All of their data and analyses were freely available to users world-wide.

Professor Keith Edwards said: “Since 1980, the rate of increase in wheat yields has declined. Analysis of the wheat genome sequence data provides a new and very powerful foundation for breeding future generations of wheat more quickly and more precisely, to help address this problem.”

The analysis is already being used in research funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to introduce a wider range of genetic variation into commercial cultivars and make use of wild wheat’s untapped genetic reservoirs that could help improve tolerance to diseases and the effects of climate change. The wheat breeding community and seed suppliers have welcomed the research.

The sequence data has been deposited at the European Nucleotide Archive and is also available from databases in the UK and Germany.

Researchers from the European Bioinformatics Institute, Kansas State University, and the United Sates Department of Agriculture were also vital to the project’s success. The research was possible thanks to major funding was form the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the EU and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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. It will help to identify the best genetic sequences for use in breeding programmes.”

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science said: “This groundbreaking research is testament to the excellence of Britain’s science base and demonstrates the capability we want to build on through the agri-tech strategy currently being developed.  The findings will help us feed a growing global population by speeding up the development of new varieties of wheat able to cope with the challenges faced by farmers worldwide.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
Tick Genome Reveals Secrets of a Successful Bloodsucker
NIH-funded study could lead to new tick control methods.
New Method Promises to Speed Development of Food Crops
A new study addresses a central challenge of transgenic plant development: how to reliably evaluate whether genetic material has been successfully introduced.
Where Cancer Cells May Begin
Scientists use fruit fly genetics to understand how things could go wrong in cancer.
Key Enzyme in Pierce’s Disease Grapevine Damage Uncovered
UC Davis plant scientists have identified an enzyme that appears to play a key role in the insect-transmitted bacterial infection of grapevines with Pierce’s disease, which annually costs California’s grape and wine industries more than $100 million.
Bacteria Attack Lignin with Enzymatic Tag Team
Team from Rice, University of Wisconsin-Madison shows how nature handles lignin.
Milestone Resource in Wheat Research Now Available for Download
Leading on from The Genome Analysis Centre’s (TGAC) previous announcement of their new bread wheat genome assembly, the landmark resource is now publically available to download at the European Bioinformatics Institute’s (EMBL-EBI) Ensembl database for full analysis.
Nano-Reactor for the Production of Hydrogen Biofuel
Combining bacterial genes and virus shell creates a highly efficient, renewable material used in generating power from water.
Cleaning Wastewater with Pond Scum
A blob of algae scooped from a fountain on South Street almost two years ago, has seeded a crop of the green stuff that Drexel University researchers claim is more effective at treating wastewater than many of the processes employed in municipal facilities today.
Global Reductions in Mercury Emissions Should Lead to Billions in Economic Benefits for U.S.
Benefits from international regulations may double those of domestic policy.
A Worm with Five Faces
Max Planck scientists discover new roundworm species on Réunion.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!