Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wheat Genome Adds to Available Draft Sequences

Scientists have released the draft sequence of the wheat genome. There are new draft sequences being released all the time as genome sequencing capabilities have increased. While they are all important because they increase researchers' overall knowledge of the organisms that have been sequenced and how all organisms interact and are interrelated, some sequences have a far greater impact than others.

I've written about a few genome sequences that were released in the last year for BioTechniques, but I thought the wheat genome was worth mentioning because of the obvious impact it will have on the food industry. Whenever a staple crop is sequenced it adds to researchers abilities to tackle issues like world hunger by making super foods, but that is an issue which is controversial in and of itself. The more we learn, the more we can do. But just because we can make genetically modified foods that thrive in unconventional climates, should we?

Also just a note about why it is called a draft sequence and not just the sequence: every genome that is sequenced starts as a draft, when researchers sequence a genome there are parts of it that they either don't understand the function of, or that they haven't been able to unravel. So, the working genome that researchers use is a draft, it is what researchers will use compare their own sequencing work with that organism, to check for accuracy. But it is just a draft, drafts can be amended later if need be. Essentially, it goes back to the main nature of scientific exploration: researchers are constantly building on their knowledge base, which is why most scientific findings are left open to be improved upon as researchers learn even more.

Draft sequences I've reported on in the last year:
Horse Genome
Corn Genome
Hydra Genome
HIV Genome
King Tut's Genome

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