Researchers sequence two-thirds of the barley genome

Information may allow more targeted selection of quality characteristics

The amount of genome sequences the researchers released is 
about four times the size of the entire rice genome.

A team led by scientists at the University of California, Riverside says it has reached a new milestone in its work on sequencing the barley genome. In a release Aug. 26, the researchers said they have sequenced large portions of the genome that together contain nearly two-thirds of all barley genes.

They said because barley is a close relative to wheat, the new work could also offer useful information leading to the complete sequencing of the wheat genome.

The researchers said that in conventional breeding, bringing in favourable characteristics from one gene can also bring in undesirable characteristics from another neighbouring gene.

“For example, a breeder might succeed in adding a favourable allele for stem rust resistance from a wild barley, but along with that gene drag along another gene that causes shattering of the mature head,” said UC Riverside genetics professor, Timothy J. Close.

“Knowing the location of gene-dense low-recombination regions helps with decisions about which genes to pursue for variety improvement,” he said.

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