An ancient grain unlocks genetic secrets for making bread wheat more resilient

03 August, 2023

Building on the Middle East’s reputation as one of the historical birthplaces of cereal crop domestication, a KAUST-led team has compiled the first complete genome map of an ancient grain known as einkorn.

The 5.2-billion-letter-long sequence provides a window into the evolutionary origins of different wheat species. It could help farmers and crop breeders to develop bread wheat varieties with enhanced disease resistance, higher yields and improved hardiness.

“By understanding the genetic diversity and evolutionary history of einkorn, researchers can now leverage its potential for future breeding efforts and the development of more resilient and nutritious wheat varieties,” says Hanin Ahmed, one of the study’s first authors, and a former Ph.D. student at KAUST.

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