. Energy News .

Dissecting the genomes of crop plants to improve breeding potential
by Staff Writers
Norwich UK (SPX) Aug 01, 2011

illustration only

Scientists on the Norwich Research Park, working with colleagues in China, have developed new techniques that will aid the application of genomics to breeding the improved varieties of crop needed to ensure food security in the future. By dissecting the complicated genome of oilseed rape they have been able to produce maps of the genome that are needed for predictive breeding.

Traditional breeding involves crossing two varieties and selecting the best performing among the progeny. Predictive breeding is a more advanced technique where specific parts of the genome most likely to contain beneficial genes are identified.

Genomic sequencing and the availability of genetic linkage maps can play a major part in predictive breeding efforts by linking beneficial traits to specific parts of the genome. Researchers and breeders use genetic markers to construct linkage maps, which help to identify useful genes. They are also vital to marker-assisted crop breeding, where the maps and markers can greatly accelerate the breeding in of new improved traits.

However, for key crops such as bread wheat and oilseed rape, the use of this kind of genomics-based predictive crop breeding is severely hampered due to the complicated genomes that these species possess.

Many important crop plants are polyploid, possessing several sets of chromosomes. Bread wheat, for example, contains three pairs of chromosomes derived from multiple hybridisation events that occurred between two other wheat species relatively recently in its ancestry.

To try to overcome this problem, a team from the John Innes Centre and The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC), which are strategically supported by the BBSRC, combined sequence data from different sources to construct genetic linkage maps.

The team led by Professor Ian Bancroft worked on oilseed rape, which as well as being an important oil crop also plays a key role in crop rotation strategies. Its oil has industrial applications and its straw can be used for biofuel production. Like bread wheat, oilseed rape (Brassica napus) has a complicated genome, having recently been formed from related species Brassica rapa and Brassica oleracea.

The strategy adopted by the group involves integrating the available sequence data for oilseed rape with that of its ancestral progenitors, and also that of a more distantly-related species for which high-quality genome sequence data is available, in this case the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

Instead of trying to sequence the DNA, the team focussed on the RNA transcribed from the DNA when the genetic code is expressed. The complete set of all of this transcribed RNA is known as the transcriptome.

TGAC used the Illumina GAII platform for the study, producing a series of consistently high quality sequence datasets from expressed genes.

The team analysed the transcriptome in juvenile leaves, which gives an overview of all of the genes that are expressed in that tissue. Using the sequence variation the researchers were able to construct genetic linkage maps in oilseed rape, eventually identifying over 23,000 markers. This allowed them to align the oilseed rape genome with that of Arabidopsis thaliana and also to sequence data from oilseed rape's two progenitor species.

This method of dissecting the genome of polyploid crops is likely to be equally applicable to other important crops. Bread wheat is a prime candidate for this, using the model grass Brachypodium distachyon in the place of Arabidopsis.

"Dissecting the genome of oilseed rape like this opens up the possibility of using predictive breeding techniques that will really help with the production of improved varieties" said Prof. Bancroft.

This study was published in Nature Biotechnology and funded by the BBSRC, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the China National Basic Research and Development Program.

Related Links
Norwich BioScience Institutes
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

New study outlines economic and environmental benefits to reducing nitrogen pollution
New, York, NY (SPX) Aug 01, 2011
A new study co-authored by Columbia Engineering professor Kartik Chandran and recently published in the journal, Environmental Science and Technology, shows that reducing nitrogen pollution generated by wastewater treatment plants can come with "sizable" economic benefits, as well as the expected benefits for the environment. Chandran was one of five scientists from around the U.S. who wor ... read more

NASA Satellite Tracks Severity of African Drought

Tropical Storm Muifa appears huge on NASA infrared imagery

NASA AIRS Movies Show Evolution of US 2011 Heat Wave

Using Satellites for Human and Environmental Security Needs

Toucans wearing GPS backpacks help Smithsonian scientists study seed dispersal

China launches navigation satellite: Xinhua

China to launch 9th orbiter for indigenous global navigation network

Cambridge Pixel, Navtech to work together

Rainforest plant developed sonar dish to attract pollinating bats

Amazon deforestation on the rise again in Brazil

DR Congo entrusts forest management to Canada's ERA

Reforestation's cooling influence a result of farmer's past choices

Colombia sees boost in ethanol output

Growth slowing in EU biofuels market

Boeing, Embraer and IDB to Fund Sustainability Analysis of Amyris Renewable Jet Fuels from Sugarcane

Computational chemistry shows the way to safer biofuels

Solar cells get a boost from bouncing light

S. Korean firm joins Chinese solar project

ReneSola Rolls Out Shipments of Its New Multicrystalline Virtus Wafer and Module Lines

Providing Power to More Than 2,000 Homes

European wind power output tipped to treble by 2020: report

Estonian wind farm taps GE for turbines

Wind-turbine placement produces tenfold power increase

Bold new approach to wind 'farm' design may provide efficiency gains

Mongolian miner signs coal deal with China firms

Pinera under fire over coal mine project

China rescuers end search for Guizhou miners

Australia PM hails coal deal amid poll slump

Tensions high after deadly unrest in China

Migrants to China's northwest live in fear

Striking Chinese taxi drivers back at work

China extends journalist's jail sentence

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement