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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Find Wheat Bread Genome Dark Matter

March 8, 2017

A group of researchers led by Professor David Edwards from The University of Western Australia's (UWA) School of Biological Sciences and Institute of Agriculture has identified 21,000 new genes in bread wheat.

The team assembled the pangenome of bread wheat. The pangenome includes all the genes for a species rather than a single individual. According to Professor Edwards, the bread wheat pangenome constitutes a significant resource for wheat genomics and breeding, as understanding the diversity of genes is essential for their association with agronomic traits. "The pangenome assembly is a better resource for wheat breeders and researchers as it reflects the diversity in modern bread wheat varieties, which in turn allows us to direct future wheat breeding efforts." Professor Edwards said.

The team also showed that bread wheat varieties have large differences in gene content, with around 60,000 out of a total of 140,000 genes being absent in one or more varieties.

For more details, read the article in UWA News.