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The latest genomic studies of wheat sheds new light on crop adaptation and domestication
Date:3/26/2013

March 25, 2013, Shenzhen, China The advanced online publication version of Nature today presents two manuscripts that provide an unprecedented glimpse into the adaptation and domestication of wheat. These achievements are the results of joint efforts led by the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology (IGDB), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), and BGI. The two projects sequenced and analyzed two ancestral wheat genomes of Triticum urartu and Aegilops tauschii, respectively, throwing light on the biology of the world's primary staple crop and providing valuable new resource for the genetic improvement of wheat.

Wheat is a globally important crop due to its enhanced adaptability to a wide range of climates and improved grain quality for the production of baker's flour. Major efforts are underway worldwide to increase its yield and quality by increasing genetic diversity and analyzing key traits related to its resistance to cold, drought and disease. However, the extremely large size and polyploid complexity of the wheat genome has to date been a substantial barrier for researchers to gain insight into its biology and evolution.

The first manuscript, led by teams at IGDB and BGI, presents the genome of Bread wheat (T. aestivum, AABBDD), the progenitor of the Wheat A genome. Using a whole-genome shotgun strategy and Next-generation sequencing (NGS), researchers identified a large set of gene models (34,879) and abundant genetic markers with the potential to provide a valuable resource for accelerating deeper and more systematic genomic and breeding studies. For example, they found the T. urartu homolog of OsGASR7 might be a useful candidate for improving wheat yield. The discovery of 2,989,540 SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) is useful for the future development and characterization of genetic markers. The researchers also reported genomic evidence of the role
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Contact: Jia Liu
liujia@genomics.cn
BGI Shenzhen
Source:Eurekalert

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