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Scientists analyze bread wheat genome

An international team of collaborating scientists has just completed the first comprehensive analysis of the bread wheat genome, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., announced Wednesday.

“The team was able to identify more than 90,000 genes, including several genes associated with various factors that affect crop productivity including nutritional content, defense, energy metabolism, and growth,” the laboratory noted in a news release.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

The lab noted that bread wheat, technically known as triticum aestivum, is an extremely important staple food crop; fully 35 percent of the world’s population of 7 billion depend upon it for about 20 percent of their caloric intake.

“Improvement of bread wheat agricultural practices has plateaued over the last 20 or so years and it is hoped that this study will open up a valuable data resource to learn more about this important crop and improve wheat agriculture through gene discovery,” the lab noted.