The recent breakthrough in decoding the genetic sequence of wheat could lead to significant increases in global wheat yields, according to British researchers.
The discovery, which reveals 95% of all wheat genes, will help to develop key genetic improvements, such as resistance to drought or high salinity, to one of the world’s oldest and most important crops.
The research team, who were funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have publicly shared their sequence coverage data online for scientists across the world to access.
Prof Keith Edwards, a member of the team, said,
The genome sequences are an important tool for researchers and for plant breeders and by making the data publicly available we are ensuring this publicly funded research has the widest possible impact.
With the recent short-term price spikes in the wheat market, our food system has been shown to be vulnerable to shocks and potential shortages. According to the BBSRC, this new knowledge will help to select wheat varieties that can thrive in challenging conditions.