Supported by "Genomics for Agricultural Innovation" Project, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan
Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is one of the three major cereal crops in the world as well as rice and corn, and it is very important as a source of calories and protein for the mankind. In Japan, wheat is largely consumed for the several products, bread, noodles, confectionaries, etc. However, the wheat production in Japan is only 10% of annual consumption, and also there is a large supply-demand gap mainly for the quality problem.
Recently, the genome breeding based on the genome sequence has been proposed and practiced in some crops such as rice and maize. To achieve the breeding using this novel method, we need the highly accurate reference genome sequences of the standard variety. However, at moment we do not have such a reliable sequence of the wheat genome because the wheat genome is so large, 17 billion base pairs (17Gb), which is 40 times larger than the rice genome, and further it is so complex for the allohexaploid nature consisted of the three different genomes from ancestral diploid species.
For the purpose of decoding the nucleotide sequence of the wheat genome, International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) was launched in 2005, and now the consortium consists of 28 countries, including Japan. The consortium objectives are a creation of the physical map aligned to BAC genomic clones for each chromosome, and then a creation of the standard sequence of the wheat genome based on the physical map for each chromosome, using the variety "Chinese Spring".
Under the framework of IWGSC, we are in charge of the chromosome 6B (about 900Mb, which is twice as the rice genome). In this program (Komugi Genome Sequence Program, KomugiGSP), we are carrying on the construction of the BAC physical map and the genome sequencing of the wheat chromosome 6B by the financial support from the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Genomics for Agricultural Innovation Project).