Following the January 2016 announcement of the production of a whole genome assembly for bread wheat, the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) (http://www.wheatgenome.org/), having completed quality control, is now making this breakthrough resource available for researchers via the IWGSC wheat sequence repository at URGI-INRA-Versailles, France (http://wheat-urgi.versailles.inra.fr/). This was announced in a press release published on June 13, 2016. Wheat breeders and scientists around the world will be able to download and use this invaluable new resource to accelerate crop improvement programs and wheat genomics research. The dataset will facilitate the identification of genes associated with important agricultural traits such as yield increase, stress response, and disease resistance, and, ultimately, will make possible the production of improved wheat varieties for farmers. Since the January announcement, the IWGSC project team has been fine-tuning the data so that the genome assembly released to the scientific community is of the highest quality possible. The resource released on June 13, 2016 – based on Illumina sequencing data assembled with NRGene’s DeNovoMAGICTM software – accurately represents more than 90 percent of the highly complex bread wheat genome, contains over 97 percent of known genes, and assigns the data to the 21 wheat chromosomes. This data release represents the IWGSC’s continued effort to produce a “gold standard reference sequence” – the complete map of the entire genome that precisely positions all genes and other genomic structures along the 21 wheat chromosomes. The wheat genome is large – five times that of the human genome – and complex, with three sets of seven chromosomes.
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