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USDA scientists and cooperators sequence the wheat genome in breakthrough for global food security
Date:11/28/2012

ing closely with partners at University of California, Davis, mapped the genome of one of those three parents, Aegilops tauschii. That mapping, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, was instrumental in the study. It allowed researchers to identify the origins of many of the genes found in modern-day wheat, a key step in linking genes to traits and developing markers for use in breeding new varieties.

Wheat growers face numerous challenges each year. Acidity in the soil can make wheat difficult to grow in some areas. Stem rust, a fungal disease, can wipe out entire crops, and a particularly aggressive form of stem rust has developed the ability to knock out genetic resistance in many popular wheat varieties and is causing major losses overseas.

USDA scientists have conducted similar genomic studies that have helped to increase the productivity of dairy operations, enhance cattle breeding and improve varieties of a number of other crops, including tomatoes, corn and soybeans. In 2010, Anderson and Gu, along with other ARS staff, were part of a team that published a paper in Nature detailing the sequencing of Brachypodium distachyon, a model plant used to study wheat, barley and biofuel crops.

Recent international research collaborations have been critical to meet challenges such as combating wheat rust and increasing wheat productivity, fighting aflatoxin contamination in corn, and sequencing genomes of important crops.


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Contact: Dennis O'Brien
dennis.obrien@ars.usda.gov
301-504-1624
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics
Source:Eurekalert

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