Bread wheat covers almost a fifth of the total calories consumed all over
the world. Its massive and hexaploid genome, composed of three subgenomes,
21 chromosomes, and 85% repetitive DNA, hinders wheat genetic improvement
toward its full potential. The International Wheat Genome Sequencing
Consortium gives hope to wheat farmers as they publish the fully annotated
reference genome for wheat in Science.
The paper reports on the following aspects:
. - a reference genome with 107,891 high-confidence gene models, 94%
estimated coverage, and 21 chromosome-like sequence assemblies
. - transcriptome atlas representing all stages of wheat development
. - expansion and contraction of gene families in connection to
. - demonstration of the utility of the reference genome by
resolving the genetic basis of a quantitative trait locus conferring abiotic
stress and insect resistance and
. - by using it as a basis for genome-editing a flowering-time trait
The reference genome allows greater possibilities for wheat improvement,
including genomics-assisted breeding and genome editing for biotic and
abiotic stress adaptation, end-use quality, and yield improvement.
The Wheat@URGI portal was also created to facilitate the maximum utility of
information. The portal consists of extensive information, genome browsers,
BLAST function, InterMine tools, and other features.