Genetic research: Researchers decipher the genome of wheat

Wheat has five times as many genes as humans – the sequencing of the genome has long been considered impossible. After 13 years, 200 researchers have now almost made it.

Genetic research: Researchers decipher the genome of wheat

The complex genetic material of wheat is almost completely deciphered for first time. The description of genome of Bread wheat, most important type of wheat, is published by group of over 200 scientists from 73 institutions in 20 countries in scientific journal Science. The researchers, who are part of International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, are hoping for improvements in world food. Wheat is staple food for more than a third of world's population, and it makes up almost 20 percent of calories and proteins that people around world are consuming. The new findings are intended to facilitate production of wheat varieties that are better adapted to climatic challenges and which produce higher and more stable yields.

The consortium had been researching decryption for 13 years. Similar international associations had already formed to sequence heritage of rice, maize and barley. Wheat was last major agricultural important plant genome that has not yet been deciphered. "The complete sequencing of genome of bread wheat was considered impossible for a long time since it is enormously large and complex," said Nils Stein of Leibniz Institute for Plant Genetics and crop Research (IPK) Gatersleben. While human genome contains approximately 20,000 genes, researchers found 107,891 genes in bread or soft wheat (Triticum aestivum).

"We estimate that we have deciphered this by 94 percent," said Manuel Spannagl from Helmholtz center Munich, who was involved in study toger with IPK Gatersleben. The bread wheat has an even more complex genome than durum wheat used for pasta (Triticum durum). The researchers have just worked on decryption of pasta wheat, but or types of wheat should also follow. "It is now a matter of understanding and harnessing natural diversity of wheat," said Spannagl. In about two to three years, first successes in use of genome for breeding should be expected.

The decryption of wheat genome was expected worldwide. It was even anticipated for next year, says vice-president of Federal Research Institute for Cultivated Plants, Julius Kühn Institute, Frank Ordon. He spoke of a milestone. "It is now possible to identify genes that encode for significant agricultural properties more quickly and thus to breed m more purposefully. This will speed up progress of breeding. " Conventional wheat breeding lasts for about ten years up to new variety. Now this can be done in combination with or techniques much faster. The major challenge for researchers now would be to find out which genes and which Gennetzwerke are responsible for which agricultural properties. So gene variants could be found that are more powerful.

Since modern technologies were not able to decipher genome in one piece, researchers always had only fragments at ir disposal in ir work. To understand correct assembly of se subsequences, team developed special algorithms. They were finally able to clarify which genes lie where, how y are organized and what tasks individual genes take over.

In a study published at same time in science Advances journal, researchers also analyzed those genes that are involved in wheat incompatibilities from celiac to Baker's asthma. The findings would offer hope for people with allergies to wheat, researchers write. "We are now able to characterize allergy-triggering genes much more accurately and better," said Spannagl. The researchers did not find completely new genes responsible for various incompatibilities, but identified position at which genes are located. In this way, it is now possible to quickly come to new varieties of wheat, which contain less allergy-inducing proteins such as gluten, on Züchterischem and oretically also by genetic engineering.

A total of five publications accompany main publication. A study already applies findings: It shows how strong or toned individual genes work under different conditions, such as drought. These and numerous or studies, which already use genome sequence of wheat, were possible because scientists already in January 2017 a working version of now published complete gene sequence for furr have provided research.

Date Of Update: 17 August 2018, 12:00

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