Submitted to: Plant Physiology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/3/2008
Publication Date: 1/7/2009
Publication URL: www.plantphysiol.org/cgi/content/full/149/1/142
Citation: Schulte, D., Close, T.J., Graner, A., Langridge, P., Matsumoto, T., Muehlbauer, G., Sato, K., Schulman, A.H., Waugh, R., Wise, R.P., Stein, N. 2009. The International Barley Sequencing Consortium — At the Threshold of Efficient Access to the Barley Genome. Plant Physiology. 149(1):142-147. Interpretive Summary: Barley was one of the first domesticated cereal grains, originating in the Fertile Crescent over 10,000 years ago. Barley ranks fourth among the cereals in worldwide production and is widely cultivated in all temperate regions from the Arctic Circle to the tropics. In addition to its geographic adaptability, barley is particularly noted for its tolerance to cold, drought, alkali, and salinity. The barley genome - with 5.3 billion letters of genetic code - is one of the largest in cereal crops and twice the size of the human genome. However, barley is a true diploid, thus, it is a natural archetype for genetics and genomics for the Triticeae tribe, including polyploid wheat, and rye. The objective of the International Barley Sequencing Consortium (IBSC) is to physically map and sequence the barley gene space, with the near-term need being the identification of all 50,000 genes, including the 5' and 3' regulatory regions, and the longer-term goal being an ordered physical map linked to the genetic map to accelerate crop improvement. Cereal crops are one of our most important food sources, thus, new knowledge of important agronomic and pest resistance genes has broad significance to plant scientists, and to farmers who utilize disease resistance to protect their crops.
Technical Abstract: Sequencing the genome of barley, an agriculturally and industrially important cereal crop and a useful diploid model for bread wheat, has become a realistic undertaking. Important steps have been initiated to improve genomics tools, build and anchor a physical map, develop a high-density genetic map, assess new sequencing technologies, and generate substantial datasets of genomic survey information. These are coordinated through an international consortium. A high-quality reference genome sequence will not only further promote our understanding of genome evolution but also blaze the trail toward genomics-based crop improvement. It will inform our understanding of previously sequenced grass and other plant genomes and will become a further milestone toward understanding grass (or even general plant) genomics and systems biology.