Scientists have claimed that they have decoded the genetic sequencing of bread wheat, hoping to improve its quality.
Bread wheat is one of the most versatile crops that are commonly used by the mass across the world. Besides it is the main food staple for a third of the world population.
The world scientists have left no stone unturned to grow higher-yielding and more nutritious wheat grains. The pressure of developing high-yielding variety of wheat grains is more on the scientists is because of the rising population and the deteriorating climatic condition. For the scientists, the genes of bread wheat are a big, complicated mess.
According to the experts, genome sequencing has revolutionized the process of breeding of staple crops like rice and corn. They are also helpful in dealing with critical situation occurred due to climate change. It helps in providing a better food supply and meet the demand of booming world population.
There was a point when many scientists echoed that it is impossible to map the genome of wheat. They thought they would not be able to figure out the order of its genes and identify the specific genes and traits.
But now, a group of scientists, growers and breeders have claimed that they have reached almost halfway in identifying and understanding its entire sequence.
“Human civilization rests on a small handful of crops, all of which were developed with much more stable weather conditions than we see now. In a world with climate change, we need to help those crops adapt quickly. And to do that one needs the genome sequence,” said Patrick Schnable, an Iowa State University professor who worked on the genome sequencing of corn.
Schnable used the genetic information of the corn for increasing crop yields. Besides the research team also tried to use the information to make the crops more resilient to stresses like pests and weather change.
Another scientist Jan Leach, who is professor at Colorado State University, said, “The same has been true for rice. “It’s accelerated the discovery of the genes involved in many traits, including those for higher yield and disease resistance. It’s always boggled my mind how ridiculous it is to not have (a complete genome) for wheat. So, this is great news.”
COMPLEXITY OF BREAD WHEAT
Understanding bread wheat is a complex thing for the world scientists. Some wheat varieties have two sets of chromosomes and are diploid like humans. Bread wheat is made up of three diploid genomes, each of which contains nearly twice as many genes as the human genome.
In 2002, scientists had sequenced two most common varieties of rice. They say it contain as many as 50,000 and 55,615 genes each. Bread wheat contains as many as 124,000.