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An ordered sequence assembly of the barley genome was published in 2012 (Nature 491, 711–716) and was the result of extensive collaboration between an international team of barley research groups (International Barley Genome Sequencing Consortium).
The UK team involved in the project is coordinated by Professor Robbie Waugh of the James Hutton Institute, Dundee, who has teamed up with researchers at The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC), Norwich, and the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), Cambridge. Funding was obtained in 2011 from the BBSRC and the Scottish Government which not only allowed significant contributions to be made towards the reference barley genome assembly but will enable progress towards a complete genome sequence and extensive variant and gene expression resources.
The UK Barley Sequencing Consortium has the following primary objectives:
- Generate a complete ordered gene-space fraction of the barley genome. This will be achieved through combining legacy whole genome shotgun and BAC sequencing datasets with physical maps anchored to genetic maps.
- Contribute towards the IBSC effort towards establishing a complete barley genome sequence. The minimum tiling path (MTP) of chromosome 2H will be sequenced and assembled into genome scaffolds.
- Establish a deep transcriptome reference dataset. RNAseq will be performed targeting a range of important tissues and stages of development. This will also assist genome annotation and gene model prediction, and identify genome-wide patterns of alternative splicing.
- Identify and characterise genome-wide informative sequence variants. Exome capture (EC) and high-density SNP chips will be utilised to identify SNPs across the coding portion of the barley genome.
- Store and display genome and transcriptome sequence data with open access for the scientific community.