The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) has announced the production of a whole genome assembly of bread wheat, significantly accelerating global research into crop improvement.

The project consisted of producing a whole genome assembly of the bread wheat variety Chinese Spring based on Illumina short sequence reads assembled with NRGene’s DeNovoMAGICTM software.

The collaborative project is coordinated by the IWGSC and co-led by Nils Stein of IPK Gatersleben in Germany, Curtis Pozniak of the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre in Canada, Andrew Sharpe of the Global Institute for Food Security in Canada, and Jesse Poland of Kansas State University in the United States.

Project participants also include researchers from Illumina, Inc., NRGene in Israel and the United States, Tel Aviv University in Israel and the French National Institute for Agricultural Research.

Funding for this project was provided by Genome Canada, Genome Prairie, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, the Saskatchewan and Alberta Wheat Development Commissions, and the Western Grains Research Foundation through the Canadian Triticum Applied Genomics (CTAG2) project, Kansas State University through the U.S. National Science Foundation Plant Genome Research Program, and Illumina, Inc.

The new data will help speed up the delivery of a high quality reference sequence of the bread wheat genome.

“The new bread wheat de novo shotgun assembly made by NRGene represents a major breakthrough for the IWGSC integrated strategy toward delivering a high quality reference sequence for each of the 21 bread wheat chromosomes,” Stein says.

Kellye Eversole, IWGSC executive director, welcomes the results. “The preliminary results obtained by NRGene are impressive,” she says. “We have been waiting for a number of years to have a high quality whole genome sequence assembly that would complement our chromosome based strategy and accelerate the delivery of the sequence.

“Thus, this assembly comes exactly at the right time because it can be integrated with the IWGSC chromosome specific resources developed over the past 10 years (e.g., chromosome shotgun sequences, physical maps, and physical map-based sequencing) to deliver a high quality reference sequence for the wheat genome in less than two years.”

Pozniak adds: “This new wheat genome sequence generated by the IWGSC and its partners is an important contribution to understanding the genetic blueprint of one of the world’s most important crops.

“It will provide wheat researchers with an exciting new resource to identify the most influential genes important to wheat adaptation, stress response, pest resistance and improved yield.”

Source: IWGSC.

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