Sequencing the bread wheat genome had been measured an insoluble task, due to its enormous size and complexity. Yet it is extremely important for the global food supply, providing more than 20% of the calories and 23% of the protein consumed by humans. The researchers at the University of California, Davis, came a step closer to solve the puzzle by sequencing the genome of a wild ancestor of bread wheat known as ‘Aegilops tauschii,’ a type of goat grass. Researchers applied a combination of advanced technologies to generate a reference-quality genome sequence for Aegilops tauschii. It is highly pliable and tolerant of diseases, it also is primary source of genes for the bread-making properties of wheat flour. Researchers are discovering new genes that is going to improve wheat baking quality, resistance to disease, and tolerance to extreme environmental conditions. One practical result of the effort of the researchers is that the discovery of two new genes for resistance to a competition or wheat stem rush to which there is virtually no resistance in wheat. Those genes were transferred from A.T into Wheat and are now available.
Wheat and its wild ancestors have genomes much greater than humans, which makes the tougher sequence. Jan Dvorak, a leader of the project Department of Plant Scientists at UC Davis said that they technically started this project decades ago, there were no technology to sequence genomes of that size and complexity. The technologies used by the researcher now, can be applied to any plant genome, so the implications extend beyond wheat. Contributors to the research include scientists from different universities, John Hopkins, University of Georgia, Albany, California, and from Germany.
University of California - Davis. (2017, November 15). Genome of wheat ancestor sequenced: Technological breakthrough will help decode massive bread wheat genome, accelerate wheat breeding. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 15, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171115133855.htm
Quinton, A. (2017, November 15). Genome of Wheat Ancestor Sequenced. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/genome-wheat-ancestor-sequenced