K-State part of effort to completely sequence common wheat genome

June 14, 2005

MANHATTAN, KAN-- Kansas State University and the Kansas Wheat Commission are spearheading the effort to create the Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, an international program focused on building the foundation for advancing agricultural research for wheat production.

The principal goal of the consortium is to obtain a publicly available, complete sequence of common (hexaploid) wheat since it is grown on more than 95 percent of the wheat-growing-area worldwide.

Bikram Gill, university distinguished professor of plant pathology at K-State and the U.S. co-chair of the consortium, said wheat should be next in line for the sequencing process.

"Among the three major crops: rice, maize and wheat, the rice and maize genomes have already been sequenced," he said. "Right now, there is very little effort for wheat and it is getting behind. The reason is that the wheat genome is very large. It is 40-times larger than the rice genome and six-times larger than the maize genome."

The complete sequence of common wheat holds the key to genetic improvements that will allow growers to meet the growing demand for high-quality food produced in an environmentally sensitive, sustainable and profitable manner, he said.

Gill said understanding the sequencing process is as important to understanding wheat genomes as learning the alphabet is in learning the English language.

"Essentially, there are four chemical letters called bases -- A, C, G and T -- in the DNA code that controls wheat genetic traits," he said. "There are 16 billion base pairs in wheat. To learn the language of genetic traits we must determine the exact sequence of the four letters in the wheat genomes."

In the future, members of the consortium will begin identifying all 16 billion sequences, but for now the program is in the process of plotting out physical maps of small sequences. This is just one of the short-term goals laid out by the consortium.

The organization believes that its goal of obtaining a complete sequence of common wheat for a reasonable price is achievable in the foreseeable future. In late 2003, the cost of obtaining coverage of a genome equivalent in size to the human genome was approximately $45 million. Within 18 months, the cost was less than $18 million at any of the large sequencing centers. New sequencing methods that are under development may reduce further sequencing costs in the future, Gill said.
-end-


Kansas State University

Related Maize Articles from Brightsurf:

European and American maize: Same same, but different
German researchers decoded the European maize genome. In comparison to North American maize lines, they discovered variations that underlie phenotypic differences and may also contribute to the heterosis effect.

European maize highlights the hidden differences within a species
Maize is one of our major staple foods and is cultivated around the world, showcasing a broad range of genetic adaptations to different environmental conditions.

Site-directed mutagenesis in wheat via haploid induction by maize
Site-directed mutagenesis facilitates the experimental validation of gene function and can speed up plant breeding by producing new biodiversity or by reproducing previously known gene variants in other than their original genetic backgrounds.

Research reveals regulatory features of maize genome during early reproductive development
A team of researchers led by Andrea Eveland, Ph.D., assistant member, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, has mapped out the non-coding, 'functional' genome in maize during an early developmental window critical to formation of pollen-bearing tassels and grain-bearing ears.

UNM researchers document the first use of maize in Mesoamerica
international team of researchers investigates the earliest humans in Central America and how they adapted over time to new and changing environments, and how those changes have affected human life histories and societies.

Climate-smart agricultural practices increase maize yield in Malawi
Climate change creates extreme weather patterns that are especially challenging for people in developing countries and can severely impact agricultural yield and food security.

Maize, not metal, key to native settlements' history in NY
New Cornell University research is producing a more accurate historical timeline for the occupation of Native American sites in upstate New York, based on radiocarbon dating of organic materials and statistical modeling.

New aflatoxin biocontrol product lowers contamination of groundnut and maize in Senegal
Recently a team of plant pathologists have developed an aflatoxin biocontrol product, Aflasafe SN01, for use in Senegal, which includes four atoxigenic isolates native to Senegal and distinct from active ingredients used in other biocontrol products in Africa and elsewhere.

A genetic map for maize
Researchers have decoded the genetic map for how maize from tropical environments can be adapted to the temperate US summer growing season.

'Lost crops' could have fed as many as maize
Grown together, newly examined 'lost crops' could have produced enough seed to feed as many indigenous people as traditionally grown maize, according to new research from Washington University in St.

Read More: Maize News and Maize Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.