John Innes Centre wheat lab
The John Innes Centre conducts research and training in plant and microbial science.

NORWICH, UNITED KINGDOM — Researchers working in Dr. Cristobal Uauy’s laboratory at the John Innes Centre (JIC) in Norwich have developed a new open access on-line wheat training resource ( designed to support researchers currently working on wheat. The training hub provides step-by-step information on experimental protocols, wheat cultivation, and up-to-date guides to a range of genomics tools, all of which may provide a solid foundation from which to carry out wheat research.

Dr. Philippa Borrill, John Innes Centre
Philippa Borrill, Ph.D.

“We hope that this web site will provide a collaborative platform to share information about wheat for both established wheat researchers and those new to the field,” said Philippa Borrill, Ph.D., who led the research.

One of the most widely cultivated crops in the U.K. and worldwide, wheat generally is considered a difficult plant to work with due to its relatively long generation time and lack of genomic resources, according to the JIC. As a result, researchers have tended to focus research on more established plant species.

But over the past few years, wheat laboratories such as the JIC in the U.K. and others around the world have significantly lowered barriers to wheat research. Information that has been difficult to find in a central location now is becoming more accessible thanks to efforts such as those taking place at the JIC.

John Innes Centre wheat resource web site
The web site offers information and training about growing wheat, wheat genomic resources, TILLING mutant resources and useful wheat links.

The new JIC wheat training web site comprises three main areas: the first provides a detailed introduction to wheat research, including wheat anatomy, development, terminology, cultivation and crossing.

The genomics resources area outlines a range of genomics tools available in wheat research, including genome assemblies, gene models and expression browsers, with detailed instructions on how to use each plus additional commentary on their benefits and pitfalls.

The third area of the web site provides strategies on how to use new functional genomic resources being developed by the international wheat community.

Dr. Cristobal Uauy, John Innes Centre
Dr. Cristobal Uauy

“We look forward to growing this resource based on community feedback and contributions,” said Dr. Uauy. “This will ensure that the resource remains relevant and focused on users.”

The Uauy laboratory is funded by the BBSRC and the International Wheat Yield Partnership.