Biotech Updates

New Projects on Cereal Genomics Launched

January 13, 2012

John Innes Centre announced two new research projects that aim to improve cereal crops, specifically wheat and barley. The researchers believe that their study would provide breeders with tools to come up with new varieties in less time but more efficiently, thus providing sustainable and nutritious food for the exponentially increasing population.

Prof. Jane Rogers of The Genome Analysis Centre will serve as the leader of the wheat project. According to her, there would be rapid advance in wheat and barley breeding just like what had happened for maize and rice. The goal of her team is to sequence four chromosomes of an experimental wheat line (Chinese Spring) which will be used as a reference standard by breeders and researchers globally. They hope that together with the outputs of scientists under different programs, they would come up with a complete picture of the genetic basis of important traits in wheat such as yield, quality, and disease resistance.

On the other hand, the barley project will be led by Professor Robbie Waugh from the James Hutton Institute. Waugh's team aims to develop a high quality barley genome sequence, and then transform this genomic information into a platform that would help understand barley genetic traits and enable isolation of the underlying genes.

For more details about the projects, visit