Indian agro-scientists map wheat genome; a step closer to full genome sequence

Wheat Genome 1807New Delhi (ISJ): Indian agro-scientists announced successful mapping of wheat genome, taking them a step closer to full sequencing of the toughest of the crops. The announcement was made in New Delhi on Friday (July 18) by Dr. Vijay Raghavan, Secretary in the Department of Biotechnology, in the presence of scientists from Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana and University of Delhi, New Delhi.

?This is of immense advancement because the genes can now be manipulated much more rapidly and get the benefit of both our understanding as well as applications,? said Dr. Vijay Raghavan.

Dr. Vijay Raghavan said genome mapping would help developing disease-free, drought and heat resistant and nutritional quality of bread wheat in the coming years. He said, the research is being carried out by a consortium of research agencies from 15 nations and it might take about 10 years before farmers would be able to cultivate the improved variety of crop.

Dr Vijay Raghan said, the results of the initial research was published in the journal ?Science?. He said 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. This genomics resource has made thousands of markers available to wheat researchers which will facilitate mapping and cloning of genes of agronomic importance in much lesser time and cheaper cost than was available earlier.

?With the draft gene sequence for each of the bread wheat chromosomes and the first reference sequence of chromosome 3B, we have achieved a milestone in our roadmap,? said Catherine Feuillet, Co-Chair of International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) in a message.

Wheat, which is a major dietary component in many countries, is grown in more than 215 million hectares annually and produces almost 700 million tonnes. IWGSC?s mandate is to make a high quality genome sequence of bread wheat publicly available, to lay a foundation for basic research that will enable breeders to develop improved varieties.

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