Intent on developing wheat varieties with higher yields and enhanced nutritional content, researchers at the University of California, Davis, have teamed up with scientists at nine other institutions in an attempt to sequence the wheat genome.
Results from that endeavor, led by researchers at the U.K.-based Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, will be reported Nov. 29 in the journal Nature.
"This work moves us one step closer to a comprehensive and highly detailed genome sequence for bread wheat, which along with rice and maize is one of the three pillars on which the global food supply rests," said Jan Dvorak, professor of plant sciences at UC Davis and a study co-author.
"The world's population is projected to grow from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050," he said. "It is clear that, with no new farmable land available to bring into cultivation, we must develop higher-yielding varieties of these three cereals to meet the growing global demand for food."
The bread wheat genome is especially complex because bread wheat originated from three ancient grass species. Its genome is, therefore, a composite of three genomes and is five times the size of the human genome.
Wheat geneticists have historically designated the genomes of those parent grasses as the A, B and D genomes, each containing a similar set of genes. As a result, most bread wheat genes exist in triplicate.
To aid the sequence assembly of bread wheat, Dvorak and the UC Davis researchers have worked with scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service and with scientists at two other U.S. institutions on sequencing of the genome of the parent species Aegilops tauschii the source of the bread wheat D genome.
The U.S. team shared the Aegilops tauschii sequences with the British team, which was assembling all three of the wheat A, B and D genomes.
Comparing the Aegilops tausc
|Contact: Patricia Bailey|
University of California - Davis