Scientists: We’ve cracked wheat’s genetic code
2010 08 28

From: CTV.ca


British scientists have decoded the genetic sequence of wheat -- one of the world’s oldest and most important crops -- a development they hope could help breed better strains of the global food staple.

Wheat is grown across more of the world’s farmland than any other cereal, and researchers said Friday they’re posting its genetic code on the Internet in the hope that farmers can use it as a tool to help improve their crops.

University of Liverpool scientist Neil Hall said that the code would serve as "the reference -- the starting point that new technology and new science can be built upon."

He said that, for example, the information could help farmers better identify genetic variations responsible for disease resistance, drought tolerance and yield. Although the genetic sequence being published Friday remains a rough draft, and additional strains of wheat need to be analyzed for the work to be truly useful, Hall predicted it wouldn’t take long for his work to make an impact in the field.

"Hopefully the benefit of this work will come through in the next five years," he said.

Among the potential benefits: lower prices for bread and greater food security for the world’s poor.

Wheat is a relative latecomer to the world of DNA mapping. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the date the human genome was laid bare. Other crops have had their genetic codes unscrambled within the past few years -- rice in 2005, corn in 2009, and soybeans earlier this year.

The reason, Hall said, was that wheat’s genetic code is massive -- far larger than corn or rice and five times the length of the one carried by humans. Strains such as the Chinese spring wheat analyzed by Hall’s team carry six copies of the same gene (most creatures carry two.) Wheat in general has a tangled ancestry, tracing its descent from three different species of wild grass.

But techniques have improved dramatically over the past decade, and scientists were able to complete the sequence in about a year.

The cracking of wheat’s code comes at a time when prices have zoomed up in the wake of crop failures in Russia. Concerns over climate change, water shortages and population growth have loomed in the background for years.

Wheat physiologist Matthew Reynolds, of the Mexico-based International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, said he hoped the sequence would help create crops better able to meet those challenges.

"Such varieties are crucial to meet increased demand from growing and more prosperous populations, confront the challenges of climate change and looming scarcities of land, water, and fertilizer, and avoid global food shortages and price spikes that particularly harm the poor," he was quoted as saying by the BBC.

But he told the broadcaster that improved crop management techniques could be just as important as genetic advances.

Article from: ctv.ca



Related Articles
Genetically Manipulated Crops: The GMO Catastrophe in the USA. A Lesson for the World
Giant Genetically Modified Salmon Coming
Paper Industry Tests Genetically Altered Trees
Fears grow as study shows genetically modified crops "can cause liver and kidney damage"
Bulgaria: Govt Forced Down on Genetically Modifed Crops


Latest News from our Front Page

6,000-Year-Old Temple with Possible Sacrificial Altars Discovered
2014 10 21
A 6,000-year-old temple holding humanlike figurines and sacrificed animal remains has been discovered within a massive prehistoric settlement in Ukraine. Built before writing was invented, the temple is about 60 by 20 meters (197 by 66 feet) in size. It was a "two-story building made of wood and clay surrounded by a galleried courtyard," the upper floor divided into five ...
What happened to Journalist Serena Shim? Assassinated? Find out what happened to Serena, Press TV director calls on Turkey
2014 10 21
Press TV news director Hamid Reza Emadi says the “suspicious death,” of the news channel’s correspondent in Turkey is a tragedy for “anyone who wants to get the truth.” Emadi made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Sunday following Serena Shim’s death across the border from Syria’s Kurdish city of Kobani, where the ISIL terrorists and Kurdish fighters ...
Ancient Roman Nanotechnology Inspires Next-Generation Holograms for Information Storage
2014 10 21
The Lycurgus Cup, as it is known due to its depiction of a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, is a 1,600-year-old jade green Roman chalice that changes colour depending on the direction of the light upon it. It baffled scientists ever since the glass chalice was acquired by the British Museum in the 1950s, as they could not work ...
Rapid Geomagnetic Reversal Possibility: Confirmed
2014 10 21
From the video: "The scientists who conducted the study are still unsure why the magnetic field is weakening, but one likely reason is the Earth’s magnetic poles are getting ready to flip, said Rune Floberghagen, the ESA’s Swarm mission manager. In fact, the data suggest magnetic north is moving toward Siberia." Tune into Red Ice Radio: Ben Davidson - Suspicious0bservers: Space Weather ...
Georgia Guide Stone 2014 cube stone removal
2014 10 21
From: Youtube: Was it all just a gag? it seems the cube stone just happens to be made out of the same Elberton granite that the rest of this morbid monument is made from.
More News »