Wheat Genomic Diversity

28 February 2015 - By: David Edwards

Characterization of polyploid wheat genomic diversity using a highdensity 90,000 single nucleotide polymorphism array

Comparative analysis of the order of single nucleotide polymorphism
Comparative analysis of the order of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) loci in the wheat genome based on SNPs showing segregation at two (left) and three (right) duplicated loci.

By David Edwards

Plant Biotechnology Journal 12(6):787- 96, Wang S, Wong D, Forrest K, Allen A, Chao S, Huang BE, Maccaferri M, Salvi S, Milner SG, Cattivelli L, Mastrangelo AM, Whan A, Stephen S, Barker G, Wieseke R, Plieske J; International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, Lillemo M, Mather D, Appels R, Dolferus R, Brown-Guedira G, Korol A, Akhunova AR, Feuillet C, Salse J, Morgante M, Pozniak C, Luo MC, Dvorak J, Morell M, Dubcovsky J, Ganal M, Tuberosa R, Lawley C, Mikoulitch I, Cavanagh C, Edwards KJ, Hayden M, Akhunov E. 

Wheat is one of the most important crops worldwide, providing a major source of calories for the human diet.However the improvement of yield and quality of this crop has lagged behind other crops such as soybean and maize due to its large and complex genome and limited investment from major breeding companies. Recently there has been resurgence in wheat research, supported by advances in genomics technology, making the detailed characterisation of this large and complex genome feasible for the first time.

In this paper, which was contributed by authors from ten different countries and four continents and was also our most cited article in 2014, Wang et al describe the production and assessment of an Illumina genotyping array consisting of 81,587 SNPs and demonstrate that 46,977 (58%) of these SNPs could be genetically anchored following the screening of eight mapping populations. This first large scale wheat genotyping array opens the door for detailed genetic characterisation of diverse wheat populations.

With the increasing amount of genome sequence data being generated by research groups around the world, high density Illumina genotyping arrays offer the ability to associate heritable agronomic traits with genome diversity, with subsequent applications to accelerate breeding in this important crop. Developments such as this are key to delivering the increased crop yield and quality required to feed the growing global population under increasingly uncertain climate conditions. 


Category: Plant Biology

David Edwards

David Edwards is a Professor at the University of Western Australia and leads an applied bioinformatics research group. His research interests include the structure and expression of plant genomes, the discovery and application of genome variation and applied bioinformatics, with a focus on crop plants and accelerating crop improvement in the face of climate change.