University of Liverpool - DNA to separate wheat from chaff

February 19, 2009

The wheat yield of British farmers may be improved thanks to a £1.7 million research project at the University of Liverpool. Scientists have been awarded funding to decode the genome of wheat, a crop that is worth about £2 billion a year to the UK's agricultural industry. Although more than half a billion tonnes of wheat are produced worldwide each year, production is under threat from climate change, even as human consumption increases. It is hoped that the Liverpool project will give farmers the genetic tools needed to breed successful varieties of wheat and increase productivity. Neil Hall, professor at the university's School of Biological Sciences, said: "The wheat genome is more than five times larger than the human genome, so this is one of the most ambitious DNA sequencing projects undertaken to date."

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