Having high-quality genome assemblies for crop species has the potential for improving breeding leading to varieties with larger yield, and better resistance to environmental stresses and infectious diseases. Despite wheat being the most cultivated crop on Earth, contributing a fifth of total calories consumed by humans, the vast size of the genome (some 5 times larger than the human genome) and its highly repetitive nature (being a hybrid of three highly similar subgenomes, each one having a high content of repetitive sequence) has precluded previous sequencing and assembly efforts.
The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) has now published a high-quality assembly of the genome, with sequences assembled into 21 chromosome-like molecules. The two main articles have been published in Science, consisting of the description of the genome sequence, and an extensive exploration of the transcriptome.
BMC is happy to publish several companion articles, including those in Genome Biology.