Seed World

Wheat Genome Sequencing Reaches New Milestone

The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) has completed high quality physical maps for six additional wheat chromosome arms. This achievement, part of a high quality reference sequence of the bread wheat genome, will help provide invaluable tools to speed up breeding of new wheat varieties.
Physical maps are the foundation to obtain a complete reference sequence of the bread wheat genome, expected by 2017/18 if funding is available. As part of the roadmap, the IWGSC is developing physical maps of the 21 chromosomes of bread wheat.
“We would not have been able to achieve this milestone without the financial support of Bayer CropScience and the scientific leadership of KeyGene,” says Kellye Eversole, IWGSC executive director. “We were faced with a difficult challenge of completing these physical maps in a short time period, and KeyGene stepped up and delivered high quality physical maps that can now serve as a substrate for reference sequencing.”
The next step is to obtain a high quality reference sequence for each bread wheat chromosome. This will provide an accurate representation of the structure and organization of sequences along individual chromosomes and enable the precise locations of genes, regulatory elements, repetitive elements and sequence-based markers of different kinds to be identified.
With a chromosome-based full sequence in hand, plant breeders will have high quality information at their disposal to accelerate breeding programs and to determine how genes control complex traits such as quality, yield, drought tolerance or durable disease resistance.