Draft sequence of bread wheat genome

Draft sequence of bread wheat genome
Major breakthrough for modern wheat breeding
Gatersleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany – July 18, 2014
The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) published in the international journal
Science a draft sequence of the bread wheat genome. The chromosome-based draft provides new insights
into the structure, organization, and evolution of the large and complex genome of the world’s most widely
grown cereal crop.
The genetic blueprint is an invaluable resource to plant science researchers and breeders. For the first time,
they have at their disposal a set of tools enabling them to rapidly locate specific genes on individual wheat
chromosomes throughout the genome. Nils Stein, leader of group Genome Diversity at Leibniz Institute of
Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), Gatersleben, Germany, says that these results “will
fundamentally change the way of wheat research and breeding. Direct access to the entire gene
complement in its genomic context allows unraveling the genetic basis of agronomic traits faster and much
more easily. Important traits can now be selected by molecular markers at early stages of plant
development. This will accelerate breeding cycles, crop improvement and crop adaptation to a changing
environment and thus also benefit both wheat growers and end users. The blueprint of the wheat genome
not only will help to further increase the yield potential of wheat but also contribute to a sustainable
agriculture by promoting the development of disease resistant and nutrient use efficient cultivars.
Moreover, it will greatly facilitate the educated access to the characterization and utilization of genetic
resources such as the >25,000 wheat accessions stored at IPK`s genebank”.
Martin Mascher, Uwe Scholz and Nils Stein from IPK, together with their colleagues at the Joint Genome
Institute, California, USA, University of Minnesota St. Paul, USA, Kansas State University, Manhattan,
Kansas, USA and The James Hutton Institute / University of Dundee substantially contributed to the effort
of IWGSC, by helping to bring the many wheat gene sequences into a linear order, thus revealing their
organization in the wheat genome. This approach was pioneered before in barley, a diploid model crop
species for research in bread wheat.
The draft sequence published now is a major landmark towards obtaining a complete reference sequence
of the hexaploid bread wheat genome, the ultimate aim of the International Wheat Genome Sequencing
Consortium. Coordinated by IWGSC, physical mapping and sequencing of all 21 chromosomes of wheat is
underway and as of today, researchers in the IWGSC estimate that the full genome sequence will be
available within three years. Recently, the groups of Thorsten Schnurbusch and Nils Stein of IPK together
with colleagues at Helmoltz-Zentrum Munich, published the physical map of one of the 21 chromosomes
(chromosome 6A) as a further contribution to this international effort.
About Wheat:
Wheat is a major dietary component for people all over the world. Grown on more land than any other
crop, more than 215 million hectares of wheat are harvested annually to generate a world production of
almost 700 million tons, making wheat the third most produced cereal after maize and rice. It is the leading
source of vegetable protein in human food, having a higher protein content than either maize or rice. The
wheat plant is highly versatile due to its ability to grow in a wide range of environments. Wheat grain is
easily stored and can be converted readily into flour for making numerous varieties of high quality edible
About the IWGSC:
The IWGSC, with more than 1,000 members in 57 countries, is an international, collaborative consortium,
established in 2005 by a group of wheat growers, plant scientists, and public and private breeders. The goal
of the IWGSC is to make a high quality genome sequence of bread wheat publicly available, in order to lay a
foundation for basic research that will enable breeders to develop improved varieties. More information
can be found at www.wheatgenome.org
About the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plants Research (IPK):
IPK was founded 1943 as the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institute of Crop Plant Research. The Institute encompasses a
distinctive range of integrated, world-class strengths in genetics, physiology and cytology of crop plants. IPK
is hosting the largest ex situ genebank of EU 27 maintaining in excess of 150,000 accessions of about 3.000
crop species and wild relatives. The Institute has a staff of over 500 including 80 PhD students.
The research program covers three fundamental themes: Development, Conservation and Utilization of
Plant Genetic Resources, Dynamics of Plant Genomes, and Integrative Biology of Plants Performance.
Research of the 30 scientific groups at IPK (http://www.ipk-gatersleben.de) comprises basic as well as
application-oriented plant research with emphasis on major crop plants such as barley, wheat, maize,
rapeseed, and pea. The Institute represents the heart of the Plant Biotech Campus Gatersleben
Original publications:
International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium/ Mayer et al.(2014), A chromosome-based
draft sequence of the hexaploid bread wheat genome, Science
Mascher M, Muehlbauer GJ, Rokhsar DS, Chapman J, Schmutz J, Barry K, Muñoz-Amatriaín M, Close
TJ, Wise RP, Schulman AH, Himmelbach A, Mayer KFX, Scholz U, Poland JA, Stein N and Waugh R
(2013) Anchoring and ordering NGS contig assemblies by population sequencing (POPSEQ). The
Plant Journal 76:718-727.
Poursarebani N, Nussbaumer T, Šimková H, Šafář J, Witsenboer H, van Oeveren J, Doležel J, Mayer
KFX, Stein N and Schnurbusch T (2014) Whole-genome profiling and shotgun sequencing delivers
an anchored, gene-decorated, physical map assembly of bread wheat chromosome 6A. The Plant
More information from: Dr. Sabine Odparlik, Media and External Relations Coordinator, Leibniz Institute of
Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), Tel: +49-39482-5427, Email: [email protected] or
Dr. Nils Stein, Group Leader Genome Diversity and chair of the International Barley Genome Sequencing
Consortium (http://barleygenome.org), Tel: +49-39482-5522, Email: [email protected]