In 2000 a team of scientists at the University of California began work to sequence the genome of barley. The work is time consuming since it is a large and highly repetitive genome that is difficult to fully sequence.
Recently researchers announced they have unlocked nearly two-thirds of the barley genes. This information is expect to not only expand our knowledge of barley’s DNA, but also to help scientist understand the closely related wheat grain as well as other sources of food. The code will also give a boost to plant breeding efforts.
“What we have now is much finer resolution of genetic information throughout the barley genome,” said Timothy J. Close, a professor of genetics at UC Riverside and the corresponding author on the research paper. “This is an improved resource used throughout the world. Prior to this work, a long-held view was that the distribution of genes in the genomes of barley, wheat and their relatives is such that the gene-dense regions are only out near the ends of chromosomes where there is also a high rate of recombination. Our work revealed clear exceptions, identifying deviant regions that are gene-rich but low recombination.”
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