UK Scientist’s Genetic Mapping of Wheat May Help Feed The World



The genetic code of wheat is five times larger than the genetic code of the human.

The genetic code of wheat is five times larger than the genetic code of the human.

When scientists successfully mapped out the genome map of the dog it was celebrated as a great success for it would help scientists with the map of the human genome. They then finalized the genome map of the human and it was going to help in the study of and cure of disease. But one of the hardest things to do a genome map of, in fact is five times larger than the human genome, has just been largely completed by a team in the UK. This may be one of the most major genetic mappings to date because it will affect the world. It is the genome map of wheat.

Wheat is one of the world’s major food sources. It is used to feed both humans and livestock. It is worth 2 billion pounds to Britain’s agricultural industry each year. Having mapped out the genetic code of the plant will allow scientists to develop new strains of wheat. It will allow the development of wheat that will yield a larger crop, be more disease resistant, wheat that is able to grow in harsh conditions and perhaps faster to harvest growing.

Dr. Anthony Hall, a member of the team that worked on the genetic mapping from the University of Liverpool, said: “Wheat production is already under pressure with failures in the Russian harvest driving up world wheat prices. It is predicted that within the next 40 years world food production will need to be increased by 50 per cent.

“Developing new, low input, high-yielding varieties of wheat will be fundamental to meeting these goals. Using this new DNA data we will identify variation in gene networks involved in important agricultural traits such as disease resistance, drought tolerance and yield.”

The project was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

As demand on food sources increases, this project may have very well have had a major impact on being able to feed the worldin the future.  David Willetts, the Universities and Science Minister, said: “This is an outstanding world class contribution by the UK to the global effort to completely map the wheat genome.”

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