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We know the rye genome. Scientists from the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin contributed to the discovery 17.05.2021 13:20

After almost 4 years of research, 63 scientists from 13 countries, including four from Poland, have decoded the rye genome. The international group includes researchers from the Department of Genetics, Plant Breeding and Biotechnology (Faculty of Environmental Management and Agriculture) – prof. Beata Myśków and prof. Stefan Stojałowski.

A detailed description of the complete genome of rye was published at the end of March this year in the "Nature Genetics" magazine. The authors of the study are members of the international team The International Rye Genome Sequencing Consortium. Thanks to this discovery, we will be able to learn about the biology of rye, which can help in the improvement of other crops related to rye, like wheat, triticale and barley.

This event is a technical milestone, said Dr. Gordillo, head of rye breeding at international breeding company KWS. According to the researcher, decoding the rye genome was a big scientific challenge.

The rye genome has almost 8 billion nucleotides, over two times more than the human DNA. On the other hand, interest in rye as an economically significant species is limited to a few countries, mainly in Central and Eastern Europe. Because of this, global financial outlays on rye research are small. The whole world was interested in the human DNA sequence, while the rye DNA sequence was of interest to only to a dozen states where it is grown - explains prof. Beata Myśków.

She added that during their research they found out that scientists from China were also working sequencing the rye genome.

An international consortium called The International Rye Genome Sequencing Consortium worked on the DNA sequence of the European rye line, while the Chinese team on the Asian form.

The race between the two teams continued for several dozen months and with the perfect draw. The publications were submitted within three days of each other and were ultimately published at the same time. This is probably the first time that two teams working on an equally complex and long-term project published their results on the same day - says prof. Stefan Stojałowski.

The decoded rye genome is a database that will help to better understand the biological mechanisms regulating life processes of the plant.

Understanding the functioning of a complicated mechanism that are the cells of a living organism (plants, animal, human) enables us to explain, for example, why something works not as we would want it to. Now we will be able to learn why our rye sometimes suffers from diseases, gives yields below our expectations, why harvested grains are not always suitable to produce tasty bread, etc.- explains prof. Stojałowski.

Work on understanding the rye genome began 28 years ago.