NRGene maps complete Emmer wheat genome

NRGene recently announced researchers have mapped the complete Emmer wheat genome in all of one month.

The mapping could accelerate global research into crop improvement.

“The repercussions of the mapping will be felt around the world,” Tel Aviv University Researcher and Wheat Geneticist Assaf Distelfeld said. “Scientists will now be able to identify key genes in the Emmer wheat and introduce them into commercial wheat via classical breeding, creating hardier varieties across environmental conditions, ultimately increasing the global food supply. 

“Mapping Emmer wheat is critical to global wheat research as it is the direct ancestor of cultivated wheat,” Distelfeld said. 

With a genome map of Emmer wheat, scientists at universities, global seed research centers and the major seed companies can now breed seeds that have higher yields, better disease resistance and more adaptability to extreme growing environments such as droughts. 

The combination of Distelfeld’s work and NRGene’s DeNovoMAGIC assembler has created long genome sequences covering 90 percent of the genome and anchored to an ultra-dense genetic map of Emmer wheat that produce a genome map equal to four human genomes or 30 rice genomes.

DeNovoMAGIC delivers accurate, high quality de novo assembly of reference genomes for any crop or organism with astonishing speed.

“NRGene’s technology accelerates food research, shifting the focus from the tidy work of genome assembly to the more applicative work of gene discovery to improve yields,”  NRGene  CEO Gil Ronen said. “Since the first maize was mapped in 2009, it has already boosted breeding practices and increased the global food supply significantly. We expect the Emmer wheat genome map to have an even greater effect, as the complexity of the wheat genome makes a full map a critical tool for breeding.”

Researchers participating in the program represent leading universities including Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, Weizmann Institute of Science, University of Haifa, Ben Gurion University, the Volcani Institute for Agricultural Research in Israel, the University of California - Davis, Sabanci University in Turkey and IPK and MIPS research institutes in Germany.

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