Decoding of wheat genome will aid global food shortage

August 26, 2010
A consortium of scientists on Friday published the first genome for wheat, an achievement that should benefit food security challenged by Earth's surging population, climate change and an emerging plant pest.

Wheat production world-wide is under threat from climate change and an increase in demand from a growing human population. Liverpool scientists, in collaboration with the University of Bristol and the John Innes Centre, have sequenced the entire wheat genome and will make the DNA data available to crop breeders to help them select key agricultural traits for breeding.

Bread , with an estimated world harvest of more than 550 million tonnes, is one of the most important food crops in the world and is worth more than £2 billion to the UK's agricultural industry. Wheat breeders, however, have few to help them select key agricultural traits for breeding and do not always know the genes responsible for the trait they need. Scientists have analysed the wheat genome, which is five times larger than the human genome, to give breeders the tools required to select traits for a healthy yield.

Professor Neil Hall, from the Institute of Integrative Biology, explains: "Sequencing the human genome took 15 years to complete, but with huge advances in DNA technology, the wheat genome took only a year. The information we have collected will be invaluable in tackling the problem of global food shortage. We are now working to analyse the sequence to highlight natural between wheat types, which will help significantly speed up current breeding programmes."

The project, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), was undertaken at the University's Centre for Genomic Research. The facility is home to five next generation genome analysers, which can read DNA hundreds of times faster than the systems that were used to sequence the human genome.

Dr Anthony Hall added: "Wheat production is already under pressure with failures in the Russian harvest driving up world wheat prices. It is predicted that within the next 40 years world food production will need to be increased by 50 per cent. Developing new, low input, high yielding varieties of wheat, will be fundamental to meeting these goals. Using this new DNA data we will identify variation in gene networks involved in important agricultural traits such as disease resistance, drought tolerance and yield."

Professor Keith Edwards, from the University of Bristol, said: "In a short space of time we have delivered most of the sequences necessary for plant breeders to identify genetic differences in wheat. The public release of the data will dramatically increase the efficiency of breeding new crop varieties."

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1 / 5 (1) Aug 26, 2010
Sure, this will alleviate some world hunger--but what it will really do is line Monsanto's pockets. Good job.
5 / 5 (1) Aug 27, 2010
Yeah totaly, it is better not to develope anything becauce someone can get money from it , but it wont be me!This is so wrong!
not rated yet Aug 27, 2010
there are farmers that use gentically modified soybean within miles of farmers that use unmodified soybeans. after a couple years the maker of the geneticaly modified soybeans goes out and test the unmodified farmers plants and finds that they have many of their patented genetic markers... they sue the farmer. The farmer insists he never purchased or planted a genetically modified seed... sure the lawyer representing the company says -- but did you stop cross pollenation -- to which the farmer replies - you mean the pollen from your plants miles away fertilized my plants due to bees and wind and I have to pay for it -- to which the lawyer says - but of course.

Unfortunately the judges have so far agreed.

This is a true scenerio that has happened all across our farming community.

Wheat is just a tall grass that we pulverize the seeds of and bake. -- Do you know how fast grass seed grows and spreads???
not rated yet Aug 27, 2010
The proplem is NOT that someone makes a profit... The problem is the extreemly BAD behavior Monsanto has displayed in locking up any advances they discover in patents and then suing farmers when they discover 'their' seeds on an unlicensed farm.

Now that monsantos patent protected technology has been found growing by the roadside all over the farming belt perhaps they will be forced into giving up on their mafia like tactics...
not rated yet Aug 27, 2010
"Wheat is just a tall grass that we pulverize the seeds of and bake. -- Do you know how fast grass seed grows and spreads???"
If the wheat was that good at what you are saying then we wouldn have to care for it but just take it from the field, and about that of crospolinating with the neighbours crops, according to me they had to check the% of the plants with the patented gene, it has to corelate with the distance , if it is normal % then Monsanto have to pay for new not gm seed and to buy the production or something like that, but if 100% of the crops has it then there is something wrong here...but patent should exist or nobody will invest money in developing something and then everybody can use it, this is not going to work on this Planet!No one will bother to do it and this is the end of the progres in this area(or at least it will be slow , really slow progres)
5 / 5 (1) Aug 27, 2010
One of the most productive adulteration regions is NZ. Of course they benefit from a moderate climate, but most recently they eliminated all government subsidies make farming profitable.
They are exporting all sorts of products around the world.
The solution to any food shortages have been demonstrated time and again: free trade and free markets.
not rated yet Aug 27, 2010
I can't help but notice how careful they are about not mentioning genetic modification here. They actually only talk about genetically assisted breeding, which is a whole different ballgame. Genetically modified crops have to get approval from the government in the US, don't they? I seem to recall a big deal being made over GM'd eucalyptus trees recently. This story seems to be deliberately specifying selective breeding with the genome sequence only used as a guide. I'm sure the genetic modification will follow as well, but it's funny that they don't want to talk about that. :)
not rated yet Aug 28, 2010
The Wheat genome is not sequenced !! This is bullshit,
just tons of short genomics fragment, not assembled,
even if we compute that during 10 years, no way.
Stupid and boaster communication.

A bioinformaticien.
not rated yet Aug 29, 2010
you mean we have a huge binary dump, and need to disassemble that?
not rated yet Sep 01, 2010
"Decoding of wheat genome will aid global food shortage"

I hate to be the headline police again, but are they aiding the shortage, or hindering it? That's like saying "Decoding the genome will aid illegal drug sales to children". Aren't there any enviromentalists who know how to write? I won't even bother to point out the biased opinion disguised as fact in the article. I can't get past laughing at the silly headline.

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