Biotech Updates

International Team Delivers Intermediate Wheatgrass Reference Genome

September 19, 2018

A team of researchers from Israel and the United States has released the improved and accurate assembly of the intermediate wheatgrass genome. The latest version of the assembly has reached a scaffold N50 of 25.9 MB with 2.55% unfilled sequence gaps and complete BUSCO gene coverage of 97.9%.

Dr. Lee DeHaan of The Land Institute is leading efforts to transform intermediate wheatgrass into a perennial grain crop. Several rounds of selecting and inter-mating the best plants based on yield, disease resistance, shatter resistance, free threshing ability, grain quality, and seed size have resulted in improved populations of intermediate wheatgrass that are currently being evaluated and further selected in diverse environments.

The goal is to develop grain-producing intermediate wheatgrass varieties that can be grown in different climates to meet human food needs while enhancing soil health. In addition to helping with domestication of intermediate wheatgrass, the assembly is expected to expedite the development of perennial wheat by wide hybridization between wheat and the perennial grass.

For more details, read the news release from NRGene.