In the United Kingdom, a major international research collaboration of more than 200 scientists from 73 research institutes in 20 countries over 13 years have produced the most comprehensive map of a wheat genome, paving the way for more resilient and nutritious varieties of a staple crop that feeds more than a third of the global human population.
The detailed findings describe more than 94 percent of the genome of Chinese Spring, a variety of bread wheat, which is the world’s most widely cultivated crop. But, all wheat varieties will benefit from the knowhow found in this study.
The project has been an immense challenge, acknowledges the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, which coordinated work. The wheat genome is five times the size of the human genome, with now well over 100,000 genes and more than 4 million molecular markers already identified and positioned across 21 chromosomes in three sub-genomes.