Biotech Updates

Barley Sequencing Effort Gets USD 1 M from USDA

September 11, 2009

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) will be able to advance their work on sequencing the genome of barley, thanks to a two-year USD 1 million grant they received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Timothy Close and colleagues at UCR hope the sequencing will enable them to find the genes that control important barley traits such as yield, disease resistance and food and malt quality. These genes can be selected in breeding improved barley varieties. "New varieties play a critical role in sustaining barley as a crop in the United States," said Close, the project's principal investigator. "The long-term goal of our project is to sequence all barley genes and to greatly improve public access to this knowledge."

"Our proposed sequencing strategy is quite novel," said Stefano Lonardi, the project's co-investigator and a researcher from UCR's Computer Science and Engineering Department. "It takes advantage of new combinatorial pooling designs, which allow very large batches of DNA samples to be sequenced at once, rather than one DNA sample at a time, combined with high throughput sequencing technology."

The project will build upon resources for physically mapping and sequencing barley genes that the researchers already have developed at UC Riverside from several USDA and National Science Foundation projects they have led.

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