‘Google maps’ for gene sequencing helps small labs cheaply, quickly develop disease-resistant crops

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Australian researchers have developed a tool described as “Google Maps for genes” potentially throwing open the field of genetic manipulation, which previously had a high bar to entry.

A team at the Queensland University of Technology Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities Research has instead created a “road map” that means smaller labs no longer have to spend years sequencing a genome before they can start experimenting.

Project lead Dr Hyungtaek Jung likens it to having Google Maps, instead of driving down every street to make a map yourself. “If you have a map, it’s easy to find where you need to go,” Jung said.

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“Our tool allows you to look at specific traits which you want to look at more precisely, and if you end up at an unwanted area, it can direct you to where you should be” …. [T]he main research focus was allowing smaller labs to quickly develop better strains of food plants.

Related article:  Sequenced genome reveals how almonds went from bitter to sweet, could help produce more flavorful nuts

Using the tool, researchers could quickly determine which genes they needed to manipulate for traits such as disease resistance and then breed accordingly, or go a step further and manually manipulate the genes.

Read full, original article: Genetic research simplified with ‘Google Maps for genes’

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