Bayer donates to wheat genome project

by Laura Lloyd
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BETHESDA, MD. — The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (I.W.G.S.C.), an organization dedicated to pioneering a complete and publicly available map of the bread wheat genome, said it has received a grant of €1 million ($1.4 million) from Bayer CropScience.

The goal of the grant is to enable the completion of physical maps for all 21 relevant chromosomes. The maps are key to obtaining a complete sequence of the hexaploid bread wheat genome, which is expected by 2016-17.

This DNA sequence will support efficient breeding of new varieties. The results of Bayer’s contribution will be made public, providing industry and academic scientists with increased knowledge about the molecular basis of important traits in wheat. Plant breeders are likely to benefit as well, accelerating their efforts to develop more sustainable wheat varieties with greater tolerance of both biologic and environmental stresses.

“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,” said Beat Keller, director of the Institute of Plant Biology at the University of Zurich and co-chair of the I.W.G.S.C.

The I.W.G.S.C. has more than 1,000 members in 57 countries. It was established in 2005 with the purpose of fully mapping the bread wheat genome and making its findings public in an effort to help breeders develop improved varieties and lay the foundation for further basic research in wheat, cereals and plants.

Bayer CropScience is one of the world’s leading crop science companies in the areas of seeds, crop production and non-agricultural pest control.

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