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Genome breakthrough heralds new dawn for agriculture
August 27, 2010
In a scientific tour-de-force that has been hailed as the most significant breakthrough in wheat production since the cereal crop was cultivated by the first farmers more than 10,000 years ago, scientists have decoded the genome of the wheat plant.
As a result, new breeds of disease-resistant crops could be producing higher wheat yields in as little as five years’ time, raising the prospect of lower bread prices and greater food security in a more populated world. And rather than guard their knowledge, the British scientists responsible for the research will today place a draft version of the genome online, making it available for free to wheat breeders around the world, who will be able to use it to speed up the creation of the new disease-resistant varieties that are urgently needed. Most wheat breeders currently rely on traditional methods of mixing new crop varieties – techniques that have not changed substantially for hundreds of years.
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