Sequenced durum wheat genome aids efforts to breed more nutritious, disease-resistant crops

agamerica ag lending durum wheat
Credit: Agamerica Lending

University of Saskatchewan (U of S) researchers say they have discovered how to significantly reduce cadmium levels in durum wheat, ensuring the safety and nutritional value of the grain through selective breeding. According to a recent Nature Genetics article, the U of S scientists helped an international consortium assemble the complete durum genome of the Svevo variety for the first time.

U of S plant breeder Curtis Pozniak, along with University of Alberta scientists, identified the gene in durum wheat responsible for the accumulation of cadmium, a toxic heavy metal found in many soils.

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“We can now examine the genes, their order and structure to assemble a blueprint that will provide an opportunity to understand how the genes work and communicate with one another,” Pozniak said in a press release.

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“With this blueprint, we can now work quickly to identify genes that are responsible for the traits we select for in our breeding programs such as yield, disease resistance, and nutritional properties.”

Read full, original article: U of S researchers play role in mapping durum wheat genome

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