Researchers have sequenced the complete genome of barley. The research, 10 years in the making, has been published in the journal Nature.
Ten years ago, the International Barley Genome Sequencing Consortium, which is led by Nils Stein of the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research in Germany, set out to assemble a complete reference sequence of the barley genome. The barley genome is almost twice the size of the human genome and 80% of it is composed of highly repetitive sequences, which cannot be assigned accurately to specific positions in the genome without considerable extra effort.
ScienceDaily reports that the genome sequencing has now been completed and takes the level of completeness of the barley genome up a huge notch. Timothy Close, a professor of genetics at UC Riverside said. “It makes it much easier for researchers working with barley to be focused on attainable objectives, ranging from new variety development through breeding to mechanistic studies of genes.”
The research will also aid scientists working with other ‘cereal crops’, including rice, wheat, rye, maize, millet, sorghum, oats and even turfgrass, which like the other food crops, is in the grass family, Close said.
Barley has been used for more than 10,000 years as a staple food and for fermented beverages, and as animal feed.
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