Triticeae Genomics for Sustainable Agriculture

Lead Research Organisation: Earlham Institute
Department Name: UNLISTED


Bread wheat has an exceptionally complex genome comprised of three independently maintained genomes, each twice the size of the entire human genome. This project will contribute to the creation of a reference wheat genome sequence and the annotation of genomic features that will facilitate genomics-assisted molecular breeding. The estimated 90,000 genes are nested within extensive tracts of nested retrotransposon repeats comprising approximately 85% of the genome. The scale and complexity of this genome requires a large coordinated effort, the development of new technologies and novel approaches.
The objectives are to create a high quality reference sequence of Triticum aestivum Chinese Spring 42 alongside the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium. This will be achieved through sequencing flow sorted chromosome arms and the application of whole genome sequencing. Using a bespoke Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BACs) pipeline to prepare, sequence and assemble 384 BACs at a time through unique barcoding samples and multiplexing to achieve rapid cost effective results. Novel approaches will be applied such as single molecule sequencing and long range mapping techniques in order to achieve long-range ordering of unigenes and whole chromosome/genome assembly. The project will establish the order of high-accuracy gene sequence assemblies based on conserved syntenic gene relationships, integrating both physical and genetic maps.
The project will also generate a resource that unlocks the genetic variation in the Triticeae through Targeting Induced Local Lesions in Genomes (TILLING), re-sequencing the exomes of ~1500 ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) mutant populations. This will identify useful variation for breeding and understanding the biology of wheat. The project will develop an informatics infrastructure for Triticeae genomes to serve scientists, breeders and industry, establishing resources for the long- term maintenance and analysis of the sequence.


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