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Scientists Uncover Breeding Gold Mine Discoveries for Wheat Genetic Improvement
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: November 20, 2021 01:14PM

Through a series of unexpected discoveries, researchers from Rothamsted
Research were able to obtain information that plant breeders and
academics can use to mix and match wheat genesto develop improved
varieties, which can jumpstart an increase in wheat yield production
that has stagnated in recent years.

The scientists used a highly stringent experimental approach to capture
wheat gene sequences that they can track back to the promoters of
individual genes known as the Exome Capture. They then found that the
promoters of the three copies of each gene responsible for 10 key
agronomic traits could be captured and sequenced in high confidence.

Their first discovery identified naturally occurring variation in wheat
that breeders were previously not aware of. Now researchers can identify
how these newly found variations relate to key agronomic traits like
disease resistance and track them through high-throughput molecular
techniques for a more precise selection of improved characteristics in

The second discovery involved the promoter sequence variation in some
wheat landraces and the ancestral einkorn wheat. Both can be found in
many commercial wheat varieties. This sequence is now made available to
other scientists for exploration.

Lastly, the scientists were able to determine some sequence differences
across promoter regions in areas within binding sites that switch genes
on and off. Prior to this, researchers were only able to access limited
sequence variation in the whole promoter regions. The new discovery
leads them to believe that the small variations are likely to play a
significant role in the biology of wheat. Thus, promoters and gene
coding sequences are both equally important in determining the resulting
wheat plant.

With the new discoveries, the scientists said that their work confirmed
that researchers and breeders do not only need genes to understand the
wheatgenomeand that they now have the ability to combine different genes
based on their promoter sequence variants and not just on their protein
variation alone.

New Targets for Crop Genetic Improvement Found | Rothamsted Research

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