Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Develop Detailed Genetic Map of World Wheat Varieties

April 1, 2015

Kansas State University scientists led by Eduard Akhunov have released the first haplotype map of wheat, providing detailed description of genetic differences in a worldwide sample of wheat lines. The study included 62 wheat lines from around the world that were either modern cultivars or varieties not previously improved through formal breeding techniques, called landraces.

To reduce the complexity of the wheat genome, the research team developed a tool called "exome capture assay" to perform targeted sequencing of only functional parts of the larger wheat genome. This technique bypasses those parts of the genome that are repetitive, according to Akhunov.

The team found 1.6 million locations (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in the genome where the wheat lines differed from one another. They used this information to describe the impact of these differences on the function of tens of thousands of wheat genes.

"In the future, we will expand the set of wheat lines characterized using our sequencing strategy by including not only more genetically and geographically diverse wheat lines, but also by including close and distant relatives of wheat. These wheat relatives are known for being a reservoir of valuable genes for agriculture that can improve abiotic and biotic stress tolerance or other quality traits, and increase yield," said Akhunov.

For more details, read the news release at the K-State website.