Chinese scientists published first genetic map of Tibetan Highland Barley

Jan 14, 2015 14:23 IST

Scientists from a genomics organisation in south China's Shenzhen City on 13 January 2015 published the first genetic map of Tibetan highland barley. Highland barley, known in Tibetan as Ne, is being grown on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau for nearly 4000 years.

The draft genome was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The research by Chinese scientists assembled 3.89 billion of the estimated 4.5 billion base pairs of the chemicals that make up DNA in the barley genome, and included 39197 protein coding genes.

Earlier scientists have genetically mapped wheat genome and soybean genome. The wheat genome has about 17 billion base pairs and whereas soybean genome has about 1.1 billion.

Significance of gene mapping of Tibetan Barley

Highland Barley consists of up to 70 per cent of all cereal crops in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. It is the home to the world's leading barley production base and centre for barley diversity research.

Genetic map of Tibetan barley will help to cultivate better strains of the Himalayan region's staple food and increase yield. Also, it could help explain adaptation to extreme environmental conditions and increase yields.

What is a genome?

A genome is the full complement of an organism's DNA, complex molecules that direct the formation and function of all living organisms. The size of an organism's genome is measured by the number of bases it contains -- base pairs being the building blocks of DNA.

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