Considered by some to be the Mount Everest of crop genomes, the challenging wheat genome is close to being scaled. An international team has produced a draft of wheat’s DNA sequence, one that identifies many of its genes and has made possible the identification of thousands of potential genetic changes that could improve this key crop.
Two kinds of wheat — bread wheat and pasta wheat — have different DNA makeups. Pasta wheat (durum), which is a hybrid of two wild grasses, has two genomes, one from each of its ancestors. Bread wheat is even more complex: It has three genomes, the result of pasta wheat hybridizing with a third grass species. A new study, published online today in Nature, focuses on the bread wheat genome, which has almost six times as much DNA as the human genome. Science Now: http://goo.gl/xwluy
Analysis of the bread wheat genome using whole-genome shotgun sequencing: Nature 491, 705–710 (29 November 2012) doi:10.1038/nature11650 http://goo.gl/dTdwU ($)