An international consortium of which three research institutes of India is a partner has published the first draft sequence of bread wheat genome, which could eventually translate into improved productivity of the crop and better resistance to climatic changes and infections.
The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) to which India is a partner published on Thursday the genetic blueprint that can be an invaluable resource to plant science researchers and breeders.
Three leading institutes-Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, New Delhi and South Campus Delhi University with the financial support from Department of Biotechnology (DBT) were entrusted with the responsibility of decoding one chromosome designated as 2A, which is about 900 million bases in size and is about one third the size of the human genome and 2.5 times the size of the rice genome.
Dr Kuldeep Singh, project coordinator in India told HT, " This is a major landmark towards obtaining a complete reference sequence. There are 15 countries in the consortium. The transportation from lab to field will take some more years. But this will go a long way in improving productivity, improve resistance of crop to diseases and help in tolerance to stress like drought and heat."
Dr Vijay Raghavan, Secretary DBT said: ' This genomics resource has made thousands of markers available to wheat researchers which will facilitate mapping and cloning of genes of agronomic importance in much lesser time and cheaper cost."?
Deputy director general (Crop Sciences) at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research Dr Swapan Datta said that decoding wheat genome will facilitate our understanding of gene function.