Seed World

Oat Genome Mapped for the First Time

The Swedish biotech company CropTailor is the first in the world to map the DNA of oats. This research will contribute to healthier and more sustainable oat varieties. Lantmännen, world leader within oats research, is majority owner of CropTailor.

CropTailor, together with the Swedish research consortium ScanOats, has succeeded in sequencing the comprehensive and complex oat genome. This will allow plant breeders to develop new healthier oat varieties, for example oat with higher levels of the dietary fiber betaglucan or higher protein content. In addition, new oat varieties that are more resilient to harmful insects and fungal infestations can be developed.

“I am very excited about this. After many years of extensive research, we have finally cracked the code! To determine the complete nucleotide sequence of the entire oat genome is revolutionary and we will now be able to develop even better oat varieties,” says Olof Olsson, CEO of CropTailor.

Lantmännen, a Swedish agricultural cooperative owned by 25,000 Swedish farmers, and majority owner of CropTailor, is happy about the recent research findings of the oat genome.

“Lantmännen has during the last 10 years made large investments in plant breeding in order to produce crops with higher quality, improved health benefits and better resilience. Now we can optimize the oat varieties even further, bringing huge benefits to both consumers and the environment,” says Mats Larsson, Research Director at Lantmännen and Chairman of CropTailor.

CropTailor has used the oat variety Belinda when mapping the oat genome. In the future, the company will continue to analyze the oat variety Belinda and develop a gene editing system for oats. CropTailor will also sequence additional oat varieties to produce an oat reference genome, enabling identification of genes only found in certain types of oat varieties. The information is of great scientific interest and will be useful for future plant breeding.