BETHESDA, Md., Jan. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) announced today that it will receive approximately EUR1 million over the next six months from Bayer CropScience (BCS) to support physical mapping of several wheat chromosomes. The goal of BCS's contribution is to accelerate the consortium's wheat genome sequencing effort by enabling the completion of physical maps for all 21 chromosomes. These maps are the foundation for obtaining ultimately a complete reference sequence of the hexaploid bread wheat genome, expected by 2016-17. The DNA sequence of the wheat genome will provide an essential tool for identifying and studying the function of wheat genes and support efficient breeding of new varieties.
The results of the BCS contribution will be made publicly available and will provide industry and academic scientists increased knowledge about the molecular basis of key traits in wheat. Concurrently, plant breeders and farmers around the world will gain essential resources to accelerate their breeding programs and develop more sustainable wheat varieties with increased tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses.
IWGSC executive director, Kellye Eversole, stated that today's announcement validates the relevance to breeders and industry of the consortium's chromosome-based strategy for achieving the bread wheat reference genome sequence. According to IWGSC co-chair, Rudi Appels (Murdoch University), "the physical maps for isolated, individual, wheat chromosomes will facilitate direct linkage to traits used in the field and in breeding while also removing a significant roadblock towards achieving the reference sequence." IWGSC co-chair, Beat Keller (University of Zurich) said that "this support is essential for the rapid completion of physical maps for all 21 bread wheat chromosomes as they provide the basis for the high quality sequence needed for both wheat breeding and basic research".
"The Bayer CropScience-IWGSC-partnership is a good example of the role that industry can play in supporting large-scale genomics research," said Catherine Feuillet, Head of Trait Research at BCS. "We are proud that BCS has taken this first initiative in wheat establishing a joint public-private partnership that will produce publicly available data sets that are crucial for applied genetics and genomics research."
About the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGCS):
The IWGSC, with more than 1,000 members in 57 countries, is an international, collaborative consortium, established in 2005 by a group of wheat growers, plant scientists, and public and private breeders. The vision of the IWGSC is a publicly available, high quality genome sequence of bread wheat that will enable breeders to develop improved varieties and lay a foundation for basic research in wheat, cereals, and plants. More information can be found at www.wheatgenome.org or on Twitter® at https://twitter.com/wheatgenome.
About Bayer CropScience (BCS):
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, the subgroup of Bayer AG responsible for the agricultural business, has annual sales of EUR 8,383 million (2012) and is one of the world's leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control.
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