Consortium receives 1m euros for sequencing wheat genome

Bayer gives 1 million to International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium to support physical mapping of wheat chromosomes.

The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) announced Jan. 24 that it will receive approximately €1 million over the next six months from Bayer CropScience to support physical mapping of several wheat chromosomes.

The goal of Bayer's contribution is to accelerate the consortium's wheat genome sequencing effort by enabling the completion of physical maps for all 21 chromosomes. These maps are the foundation for ultimately obtaining a complete reference sequence of the hexaploid bread wheat genome, expected by 2016-17.

The DNA sequence of the wheat genome will provide an essential tool for identifying and studying the function of wheat genes and support efficient breeding of new varieties.

The results will provide industry and academic scientists with increased knowledge about the molecular basis of key traits in wheat and will allow plant breeders and farmers around the world to gain essential resources to accelerate their breeding programs and develop more sustainable wheat varieties with increased tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, the announcement said.

According to IWGSC co-chair Rudi Appels, "The physical maps for isolated, individual wheat chromosomes will facilitate direct linkage to traits used in the field and in breeding while also removing a significant roadblock towards achieving the reference sequence."

IWGSC is an international, collaborative consortium with more than 1,000 members in 57 countries that was established in 2005 by a group of wheat growers, plant scientists and public and private breeders.

Its vision is a publicly available, high-quality genome sequence of bread wheat that will enable breeders to develop improved varieties and lay a foundation for basic research in wheat, cereals and plants. More information can be found at www.wheatgenome.org.

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