Saturday, 20 October 2012

Flash Report: Beer genome sequenced

Actually is the barley genome that has been sequenced and described in the journal Nature by scientists of The International Barley Sequencing Consortium (IBSC).
Malted barley, along with hops and yeast, is a key ingredient in brewing beer (while the yeast genome has been unraveled more than 15 years ago, to the best of my knowledge the hops - Humulus lupulus genome has not been sequenced yet).
First cultivated more than 10,000 years ago, barley (Hordeum vulgare) is the world's fourth most important cereal crop (both in terms of area of cultivation and in quantity of grain produced), trailing only maize, rice and wheat. Its genome is almost twice the size of the human genome and contains a large proportion of closely related sequences, which are difficult to piece together.
Professor Robbie Waugh (Scotland's James Hutton Institute) who led the research said: "this research will streamline efforts to improve barley production through breeding for improved varieties. This could be varieties better able to withstand pests and disease, deal with adverse environmental conditions, or even provide grain better suited for beer and brewing".

 2012 Oct 17. doi: 10.1038/nature11543.

A physical, genetic and functional sequence assembly of the barley genome.


Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is among the world's earliest domesticated and most important crop plants. It is diploid with a large haploid genome of 5.1 gigabases (Gb). Here we present an integrated and ordered physical, genetic and functional sequence resource that describes the barley gene-space in a structured whole-genome context. We developed a physical map of 4.98 Gb, with more than 3.90 Gb anchored to a high-resolution genetic map. Projecting a deep whole-genome shotgun assembly, complementary DNA and deep RNA sequence data onto this framework supports 79,379 transcript clusters, including 26,159 'high-confidence' genes with homology support from other plant genomes. Abundant alternative splicing, premature termination codons and novel transcriptionally active regions suggest that post-transcriptional processing forms an important regulatory layer. Survey sequences from diverse accessions reveal a landscape of extensive single-nucleotide variation. Our data provide a platform for both genome-assisted research and enabling contemporary crop improvement.

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