Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists create first map of the wheat epigenome

10.12.2015

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have carried out the first ever genome-wide survey of heritable molecular changes that regulate gene activity in wheat, in what could become a new tool to improve crop breeding technologies.

Epigenetic marks are chemical tags which physically attach themselves to DNA, and modify its function without changing the genetic code. DNA methylation is one such mechanism of epigenetic gene expression control that can be passed down to future generations.


This image shows the wheat fields.

Credit: Professor Anthony Hall

Now, developing technology has allowed scientists to study DNA methylation across the complex and challenging wheat genome.

Dr Laura Gardiner, from the University's Centre for Genomic Research, said: "Due to the sheer size of the wheat genome, undertaking a survey like this has been technically unworkable until now, but understanding how and when genes are activated is a key part of understanding its complexity.

"This work opens up a whole new level of genetic variation which can be exploited by wheat breeders. In the future we see epigenetic marks becoming an important new tool in this area."

Using a combination of sodium bisulphate treatment and targeted gene enrichment, the team observed that methylation is highly conserved across all three genomes of hexaploid wheat, but found evidence of sub-genome specific methylation.

Methylation changes were also found to be associated with changes in gene-expression and, although not demonstrated, these changes are likely to affect the phenotype. The stability of methylation in the wheat genome was also shown, with some methylation patterns conserved for over 0.5 million years.

Liverpool scientists created the first draft of the wheat genome in 2012, enabling new levels of precision breeding for this globally important food source which provides 20% of daily calories and protein for the world's population.

Professor Anthony Hall, who led the study, added: "With the ability to characterise genome-wide patterns of methylation we can now address fundamental questions in wheat, such as the role of epigenetics in the domestication of crops and the stability and long-term function of methylation.

"We can also seek to understand how methylation changes important traits for farmers like disease resistance and yield variability. These are all key topics for future research at Liverpool and will impact on world agriculture."

###

The project was funded as part of the ERA-CAPS programme, with support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

The paper "A genome-wide survey of DNA methylation in hexaploid wheat" is published in Genome Biology.

Media Contact

Nicola Frost
nicola.frost@liverpool.ac.uk
01-510-795-9620

 @livuninews

http://www.liv.ac.uk 

Nicola Frost | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>