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Affy, University of Bristol Partner on Wheat Array

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Affymetrix and the UK's University of Bristol have partnered to develop a wheat genotyping array to be used in efforts to study wheat genetics and in breeding programs, Affymetrix said today.

The partners developed the Axiom Wheat Array, which consists of 817,000 markers, as part of the Wheat Improvement Strategic Program (WISP). The goal of the WISP initiative, which is funded by the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Research Council, is to create novel wheat germplasm and to expand genetic variation in elite wheat cultivars.

The Axiom Wheat Array includes functional and positional annotation information on a variety of wheat species, and its SNPs include markers from hexaploid landraces and from synthetic and ancestral lines, Affy said.

The company said it plans to present results from the array at the 2014 Plant and Animal Genome conference this week in San Diego.

A subset of the markers on the Axiom array will be transferred onto Axiom 384HT-format arrays to create multiple wheat array designs, each of which will contain around 35,000 markers and will serve different purposes for wheat breeding.

Affy said it plans to make these new Axiom arrays publicly available before the spring wheat season.

Keith Edwards, a professor of Cereal Functional Genomics at the University of Bristol, said the array has "helped WISP achieve one of the main goals, which is to track the different segments of the 'wheat relative' line and incorporate them into hexaploid bread wheat through the breeding process. The follow-on focused arrays will offer wheat breeders the capability to understand polymorphisms between their current breeding lines."