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Liverpool scientists decipher genetic code of wheat
Date:11/28/2012

gy 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."


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Contact: Samantha Martin
samantha.martin@liv.ac.uk
44-015-179-42248
University of Liverpool
Source:Eurekalert

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