Scientists Say Wheat Genome Sequence Far From Done

Scientists Say Wheat Genome Sequence Far From Done

AP story claiming British team had completed wheat genome sequencing was an error, international consortium says.

It would great if it were true that the wheat genome has been sequenced, but the reality is "not yet" say members of the International Wheat Genome Sequence Consortium.

A recent article from the Associated Press claimed that a British team of scientists had "decoded the genetic sequence of wheat" but much more work needs to be done before the work is complete, the consortium says, and it will take more money and more manpower to finish the job.

Claims that the wheat genome has been sequenced are premature, and moreover, additional manpower and money are needed to complete the project, agree members of the International Wheat Genome Sequence Consortium.

Sequencing the wheat genome, which is five times more complex than the human genome, is a massive undertaking and has taken many years, multiple scientists and enormous financial resources. Scientists from more than 13 countries have collaborated on sequencing the wheat genome. Altogether, the job of sequencing the wheat genome is about 5% complete, the group says.

Kansas' wheat farmers, through the Kansas Wheat Commission wheat assessment, have contributed more than $200,000 to the IWGSC effort since it began in 2005. Kansas State University also has committed significant financial and human resources to the IWGSC effort.

The accomplishments of British scientists in providing preliminary raw data for the wheat genome are significant. However, the data is incomplete and must be refined, says Justin Gilpin, chief executive officer of the KWC. "It's like a complicated jigsaw puzzle with a lot of pieces missing."

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