Sequencing the genome of Chinese Spring was an incredible feat, due to its enormous size and complexity.
Bread wheat is five times larger than the human genome and has three sub-genomes, with more than 85% of it composed of repeated elements.
The reference sequence for Chinese Spring was made available to the scientific community in January 2017 and an analysis of the reference sequence was published in the journal Science in August 2018.
Since then, more than 250 publications have been published using this resource, yet only a portion of the genome has been manually or functionally interpreted with high confidence.
So, the potential to analyze only the exome, or just the functionally expressed genes, greatly reduces the cost of sequencing each sample and speeds analysis of the resulting data.
Understanding the inner-workings of the complex genome
The partnership with Arbor – a global leader in next generation sequencing (NGS) target enrichment and synthetic biology – will provide IWGSC members with a standardized exome panel for research and development.
The two organizations will also continue to collaborate with outside breeders, plant scientists and wheat growers to further define the genome and develop new resources for studying this valuable crop.
“Our members have been working together since 2005 to generate a gold-standard reference genome for Chinese Spring,” said Kellye Eversole, executive director of the IWGSC.
“Partnering with Arbor Biosciences will accelerate research efforts into the inner-workings of this very complex genome.”
The partnership will also enable Arbor to expand its collaboratively developed myBaits Expert Wheat Exome capture panel that it is launching at the International Plant and Animal Genome Conference being held in San Diego, US, (January 12-16, 2019).
The bioscience company is planning to develop new iterations of the exome panel with further understanding of the genome as well as panels specific to disease and drought resistance.
Additionally, it is developing a robust bioinformatics pipeline of the exome to streamline data analysis and deliver consistency across the consortium.
“We are proud to develop this wheat exome panel, which can be paired with any library preparation, in conjunction with the IWGSC,” said Jacob Enk, PhD, senior scientist at Arbor Biosciences.
“The panel will be added to our targeted sequencing services offering for researchers who require a complete solution from DNA to data analysis.”
Arbor Biosciences is a development and manufacturing company founded by scientists to develop cost-effective, user-friendly products to researchers of genetics and synthetic biology.
The company routinely collaborates with customers and research partners to develop innovative solutions to address unique applications.
The IWGSC was established in 2005 by a group of wheat growers, plant scientists, and public and private breeders to make the genome sequence of bread wheat publicly available to enable breeders to develop improved varieties. Today, the non-profit organization has 2,400 members in 68 countries.