WASHINGTON, October 17, 2012--In a major advance that will unlock the benefits of the mapping of the barley genome--one of the world's most important cereal crops--work conducted and supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in collaboration with researchers around the world has resulted in the most advanced sequencing of the barley genome to date, as reported today in the journal Nature. The advance will give researchers the tools to produce higher yields, improve pest and disease resistance, and enhance nutritional value of barley. Past genomic research supported by USDA has provided similar benefits to crops such as tomato and corn, and helped improve cattle breeding and enhance the productivity of dairy cows.
"USDA supports innovative genomics research that is really moving us forward to meeting the many challenges we face in food, fuel and agriculture production," said Catherine Woteki, USDA's Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics. "This important step toward full barley genome sequencing offers enormous potential for global food security. Using the tools of genetics and genomics, we are keeping farmers profitable and our food supply safe and abundant."
Along with project investigators Timothy Close and Stefano Lonardi at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) and Gary Muehlbauer at the University of Minnesota, supported by grants from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists Roger Wise and Jesse Poland, together with scientists from 19 other organizations around the world, make up the International Barley Sequencing Consortium (IBSC).
Nearly twice as large as the human or maize genomes, the barley genome was a challenge to sequence, due to its complexity and its large proportion of repetitive regions, which are difficult to piece together into a true linear order. By developing and applying a
|Contact: Mary Conley|
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics