17 August 2018. The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) publishes the conclusion of its bread wheat genome-sequencing project in Science, sending scientific and media circles into a tizzy.

Why the hype?

With 107,891 genes (five times that of humans) and a genome 40 times more complex than rice, bread wheat befuddled scientists for decades. Sequencing involves, in simple terms, breaking down a genome into a dizzying number of pieces, identifying each segment and then putting it back together. With wheat, that’s a gargantuan task, in large part because 85% of its genome is replicated—nearly everything looks identical or has identical characteristics.

AUTHOR

Roshni Nair

Roshni P. Nair joins us from Reuters, where she was an online producer. With a background in weekend features at Hindustan Times and DNA, Roshni has written on subjects ranging from India’s amateur UFO investigators to the provenance of sambhar. When not pursuing story ideas, she enjoys reading, making a great cuppa adrak chai, playing with street dogs, and avoiding large gatherings. Roshni will work out of Mumbai and can be reached at roshni at the rate the-ken.com

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