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Research Group Taps NRGene to Assemble Emmer Wheat Genome

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – NRGene is partnering with researchers from several institutions to assemble the 12 gigabase genome of the wild emmer wheat, an immediate progenitor of most cultured wheat varieties.

"The sequenced genome is a very important resource that will link genetic data and plant performance in the field," according to Assaf Distelfeld, a wheat geneticist and one of the primary researchers on the project. "When we have this information, we can better engineer the seeds and get higher yields, better grain quality and nutritional value, and plants that are resistant to diseases and better adapted to their growing environments," he said in a statement. "Sequencing the wild wheat genome will advance wheat research and facilitate the genetic identification necessary for continuing wheat improvement."

NRGene will use its DeNovoMagic software to assemble the genome. Anchoring of the generated genome scaffolds will be done using an ultra-dense genetic map that the company developed in collaboration with Distelfeld's laboratory at Tel Aviv University. The project is expected to be completed in about six months.

Participants include researchers at Hebrew University, Weizmann Institute of Science, University of Haifa, Ben Gurion University, and the Volcani Institute for Agricultural Research in Israel; Sabanci University in Turkey; and Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research in Germany.

In January, NRGene announced its plans to partner with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), an international non-profit research center headquartered in Mexico, to generate the de novo assemblies for 20 tropical, subtropical, and highland maize genomes.