Bayer CropScience announced today that it has sequenced the entire genome of rapeseed/canola (Brassica napus) and its constituent genomes present in Brassica rapa and Brasica oleracea. This gives the company what it calls "a unique level" of insight into the previously unknown genetic code for this oilseed crop. Rapeseed/canola is the second largest oilseed crop after soybeans, accounting for about 15% of world production.
The company worked with several groups to achieve the genetic milestone. Bayer credits the Beijing Genomics Institute-Shenzhen for proving the company with a high-density, fully assembled and annotated sequence of a Brassica rapa and a Brassica oleracea line. Complementary genome sequence data sets of an elite proprietary Bayer CropScience Brassica napus parental line were provided by Keygene N.V. from The Netherlands and the University of Queensland in Australia.
Just how will all this genetic data be put to work? The company plans to put it to work in gene copy identification and isolation for use in both biotech and non-biotech trait development platforms. This should allow the company to get precise chromosome positioning of biotech trait events. In addition, Bayer says the resource is "an excellent discovery tool for mining novel genes and pathways and serve as references for the resequencing of relevant breeding lines used in advanced molecular breeding applications."
In a press statement announcing the milestone, Bart Lambert, head of research for oilseeds at Bayer CropScience in Gent, Belgium comments: "This will allow us to speed up our current research and breeding programs so that these will bring new technology and better products to growers much sooner. Not only does this mean faster and more efficient development, it also allows us to explore many more innovative ideas which will continue to enhance the value of rapeseed/canola as a crop."