Science features NRGene’s bread wheat genome infrastructure

After two years of fine-tuning by global team of researchers, comprehensive bread wheat genome now available

Ness Ziona, Israel – 16 August 2018 – The complete genome of bread wheat is now available to researchers worldwide to better understand the genetics and traits within the world’s most important crop.

Under the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) project, NRGene provided the infrastructure while the in-depth analysis was done by members of the IWGSC, including scientists from the universities of Saskatchewan, Tel Aviv, and Haifa, and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, among many others.

While the complete genome is being published in full in Science, the initial data was made public almost two years ago and has already been featured in more than 100 scientific papers over the past year, demonstrating the massive impact a single genome can have in the world of research.

“After we saw the high-quality assembly of wild Emmer wheat, we knew similar results could be achieved for bread wheat, which has a much larger genome,” said Prof. Assaf Distelfeld from Tel Aviv University’s School of Plant Sciences and Food Security and Institute for Cereal Crops Improvement. “To see the exponential speed at which research has grown since the genome was released was a surprise even to me.”

Work on the bread wheat genome had been in process for more than a decade. NRGene completed the efforts within a few months. Those results were released in January 2016. Researchers have spent the past two years speeding up their genetic research and breeding toward maximizing wheat productivity across diverse geographies, including the ability to adjust for microclimates.

“The knowledge of the complete genome combined with the volume of research that others have done within the past year has significantly accelerated my own research,” said Prof. Tzion Fahima of the University of Haifa. “Paradigm shifts of this magnitude are rare, and this one has accelerated and deepened our findings to an unheard-of degree. It’s an amazing time to be a plant geneticist.”

This is still the only comprehensive genome of bread wheat available. No other organization has achieved the level of accuracy available within the basic infrastructure built by NRGene’s DeNovoMAGICTM. DeNovoMAGICTM can assemble virtually any genome de novo from Illumina short reads. The unique assembly engine completes even the most challenging assembly within days of obtaining the raw sequence data, with outstanding results.

“With funding from a range of partners and cutting-edge sequencing technology from our industrial partner NRGene, our research team at the U of S played a key role in the international consortium’s success, a discovery that has the potential for disruptive innovation in wheat improvement,” said Dr. Curtis Pozniak, researcher and wheat breeder at the Crop Development Centre of the University of Saskatchewan.

“The new genome assembly provides a chromosome-by-chromosome representation rather than the fractured picture available previously and will elevate wheat research and breeding to a level equal to, or even better than, other major crops,” said Dr. Andrew Sharpe, Director of Genomics and Bioinformatics for the Global Institute of Food Security at the University of Saskatchewan.


The version published in Science includes the annotation and identification of precise locations of 107,891 genes; more than 4 million molecular markers along the chromosomes; and regulatory elements. It also includes individual physical and genetic maps.

“NRGene is still the first and only company with the ability to make this much of an impact on the global food supply,” says Dr. Gil Ronen, CEO of NRGene. “Simply look at the volume of papers produced from this one assembly, and then multiply that knowledge by taking into account the more than 100 crops we’ve already assembled, and you can truly understand what our team has afforded the scientific community.”

About NRGene
NRGene is a genomic big data company delivering cutting-edge software and algorithms to reveal the complexity and diversity of humans, plants and animals for supporting the most advanced medical research and sophisticated breeding programs. NRGene tools have already been employed by some of the leading seed companies worldwide as well as the most influential research teams in academia. Follow us: TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.

NRGene Contact
Amy Kenigsberg
K2 Global Communications
[email protected]
+1-913-440-4072 (+7 ET)
+972-9-794-1681 (+2 GMT)

Daphna Tako

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