Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Major scientific breakthrough: International team of scientists including 18 Indians decode complex wheat genome

Congratulating the Indian team involved in the research, Science and Technology Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan that this proves that our scientists are capable of matching the best in the world in any discipline.

Photo: Pixabay
In a major scientific breakthrough, a team of international researchers have decoded the wheat genome. The international team includes 18 scientists from India. Decoding the wheat genome had been considered insurmountable so far. The information generated will help in identifying genes controlling complex agronomic traits such as yield, grain quality, resistance to diseases and pests, as well as tolerance to drought, heat, water logging and salinity.

Congratulating the Indian team involved in the research, Science and Technology Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan that this proves that our scientists are capable of matching the best in the world in any discipline. He also hailed the breakthrough adding that "cracking of the bread wheat genome will go a long way in developing climate-resilient wheat and help tide over possible impact of climate change on farm output."

In an article published in 'Science', the authors said, the DNA sequence has been ordered and it represents the highest quality genome sequence generated to date for the bread wheat. The reference genome covers 94 per cent (14.5 Gb) of the entire wheat genome. The bread wheat has a complex hexaploid genome which is 40 times larger than that of the rice genome and 5 times larger than the human genome.

The research article is authored by more than 200 scientists from 73 research institutions in 20 countries. A team of 18 Indian scientists co-authoring this paper, led by Dr Kuldeep Singh at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Ludhiana, Professor JP Khurana at the University of Delhi South Campus, and Professor Nagendra Singh at ICAR-National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, Delhi, contributed to the decoding of Chromosome 2A of the wheat genome. This project was financially supported by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.

The availability of high quality reference genome would accelerate the breeding of climate-resilient wheat varieties to feed the ever-increasing world population and help address global food security.

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