A roadmap for gene functional characterisation in wheat

Crop Genetics, John Innes Centre, Norwich, United Kingdom
School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
John Bingham Laboratory, National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), Cambridge, United Kingdom
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Agriculture and Food (CSIRO), Canberra, Australia
Research Centre for Genomics and Bioinformatics, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Fiorenzuola d'Arda, Italy
The European Bioinformatics Institute, Hinxton, United Kingdom
Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, United Kingdom
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia
Division of Plant and Cop Sciences, The University of Nottingham, Loughborough, United Kingdom
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Crop Development Centre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), El Batan, Mexico
Subject Areas
Genomics, Plant Science
wheat, polyploid, genomics, expression, transgenics, TILLING, training, breeding
© 2019 Adamski et al.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ Preprints) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
Cite this article
Adamski NM, Borrill P, Brinton J, Harrington S, Marchal C, Bentley AR, Bovill WD, Cattivelli L, Cockram J, Contreras-Moreira B, Ford B, Ghosh S, Harwood W, Hassani-Pak K, Hayta S, Hickey LT, Kanyuka K, King J, Maccaferri M, Naamati G, Pozniak CJ, Ramirez-Gonzalez RH, Sansaloni C, Trevaskis B, Wingen LU, Wulff BB, Uauy C. 2019. A roadmap for gene functional characterisation in wheat. PeerJ Preprints 7:e26877v2


To adapt to the challenges of climate change and the growing world population, it is vital to increase global crop production. Understanding the function of genes within staple crops will accelerate crop improvement by allowing targeted breeding approaches. Despite the importance of wheat, which provides 20 % of the calories consumed by humankind, a lack of genomic information and resources has hindered the functional characterisation of genes in this species. The recent release of a high-quality reference sequence for wheat underpins a suite of genetic and genomic resources that support basic research and breeding. These include accurate gene model annotations, gene expression atlases and gene networks that provide background information about putative gene function. In parallel, sequenced mutation populations, improved transformation protocols and structured natural populations provide rapid methods to study gene function directly. We highlight a case study exemplifying how to integrate these resources to study gene function in wheat and thereby accelerate improvement in this important crop. We hope that this review provides a helpful guide for plant scientists, especially those expanding into wheat research for the first time, to capitalise on the discoveries made in Arabidopsis and other plants. This will accelerate the improvement of wheat, a complex polyploid crop, of vital importance for food and nutrition security.

Author Comment

For version 2 we have incorporated community feedback on several aspects of the manuscript. We include information on additional germplasm resources, have updated with the Svevo and wild emmer genomes, incorporated the pangenome information among other edits.

Supplemental Information

Table 2: Natural variation resources available in wheat

DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.26877v2/supp-1