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Genomes of 480 Wheat Varieties Reveal Evolution, Human Sociocultural History
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: May 19, 2019 02:36PM

An international team of scientists involved in the large-scale WHEALBI
study has analyzed the genomes of 480 wheat varieties, including wild
grasses, ancient grains, and modern high-performance types. The research
team learned about the evolution and cultivation of today's bread wheat and
also found the links in wheat development to geographic and geopolitical
events in human history.

The research team in Plant Genome and Systems Biology group (PGSB) at the
Helmholtz Zentrum München identified three gene pools in the bread-wheat
varieties used today that are closely linked to historical events: one from
high-yielding varieties domesticated in the near east that spread as part of
the green revolution and two separate gene pools from Western and Central
Europe. They diverged between 1966 and 1985 as a result of geopolitical and
socio-economic separation during the Cold War. With the fall of the Iron
Curtain in 1989, their genomes reveal that the wheat lines gradually admixed

The researchers identified previously unknown genes that influence yield,
flowering time, height, and stability of wheat plants. It was also revealed
that the genome of today's wheat shows the emergence and expansion of the
European Union. Wheat lines that used to be cultivated mainly in Central
Europe are now used throughout Europe.


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