Public Release: 

Milestone resource in wheat research now available for download

Earlham Institute

Leading on from The Genome Analysis Centre's (TGAC) previous announcement of their new bread wheat genome assembly, the landmark resource is now publically available to download at the European Bioinformatics Institute's (EMBL-EBI) Ensembl database for full analysis.

The Ensembl Plants pre-site has issued the first release of the genome assembly of Triticum aestivum cv. Chinese Spring, generated by TGAC. This is the most complete and accurate bread wheat genome assembly to date with 91 per cent (98,974 genes) of the total genome annotated and assembled -- a total sequence length of 13.4GB.

Alignments of RNA-seq data from three different studies across 18 samples have additionally been located on the new assembly. The wheat genome's data can be searched via the gene identifier in the text search box, or via the bioinformatics BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool) to compare sequence matches. Further annotation will be progressively available over the upcoming months.

The new and improved wheat assembly will help wheat breeders accelerate their crop improvement programmes and researchers to discover genes for key traits such as yield, nutrient use and bread making quality. As wheat is one of the world's most vital crops, the new genomics resources will help secure future food supplies. The released data will be a new resource for wheat researchers and breeders building on the Wheat Initiative's founding principles of collaboration through data sharing to help tackle the global grand challenge of feeding a population of nearly 10 billion by 2050.

The full data set, with genes identified, is publicly available from EMBL-EBI's Ensembl database. This is a key milestone in the BBSRC funded research project "Triticeae Genomics for Sustainable Agriculture" in collaboration with TGAC, JIC, EMBL-EBI and Rothamsted Research. The data is also available for sequence searches (BLAST) at TGAC's Grassroots Genomics platform.

On the release of the full wheat genome data set, Project lead Prof Federica Di Palma, Director of Science at TGAC, said: "This is a remarkable achievement which exemplifies the kind of science that TGAC's skilled and multidisciplinary staff are able to deliver.

Mike Bevan, from the John Innes Centre (Co-Principal Investigator), added: "This new genome assembly enables new types of research in wheat because it has precise long-range information about the location of genes and repeats in the large and complex genome. We aim to facilitate the work of researchers worldwide by releasing the assemblies at an early stage."


TGAC is strategically funded by BBSRC and operates a National Capability to promote the application of genomics and bioinformatics to advance bioscience research and innovation.

Notes to Editors

For more information, please contact:

Hayley London
Marketing & Communications Officer, The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC)

About TGAC

The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) is a world-class research institute focusing on the development of genomics and computational biology. TGAC is based within the Norwich Research Park and receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) -- £7.4M in 2013/14 -- as well as support from other research funders. TGAC is one of eight institutes that receive strategic funding from BBSRC. TGAC operates a National Capability to promote the application of genomics and bioinformatics to advance bioscience research and innovation.

TGAC offers state of the art DNA sequencing facility, unique by its operation of multiple complementary technologies for data generation. The Institute is a UK hub for innovative Bioinformatics through research, analysis and interpretation of multiple, complex data sets. It hosts one of the largest computing hardware facilities dedicated to life science research in Europe. It is also actively involved in developing novel platforms to provide access to computational tools and processing capacity for multiple academic and industrial users and promoting applications of computational Bioscience. Additionally, the Institute offers a Training programme through courses and workshops, and an Outreach programme targeting schools, teachers and the general public through dialogue and science communication activities.


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, BBSRC invested over £509M in world-class bioscience in 2014-15 and is the leading funder of wheat research in the UK (over £100M investment on UK wheat research in the last 10 years). We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see: For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see:

About the John Innes Centre

Our mission is to generate knowledge of plants and microbes through innovative research, to train scientists for the future, to apply our knowledge of nature's diversity to benefit agriculture, the environment, human health and wellbeing, and engage with policy makers and the public.

To achieve these goals we establish pioneering long-term research objectives in plant and microbial science, with a focus on genetics. These objectives include promoting the translation of research through partnerships to develop improved crops and to make new products from microbes and plants for human health and other applications. We also create new approaches, technologies and resources that enable research advances and help industry to make new products. The knowledge, resources and trained researchers we generate help global societies address important challenges including providing sufficient and affordable food, making new products for human health and industrial applications, and developing sustainable bio-based manufacturing.


The European Bioinformatics Institute is part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory(EMBL), and is a global leader in the storage, analysis and dissemination of large biological datasets. EMBL-EBI helps scientists realise the potential of 'big data' by enhancing their ability to exploit complex information to make discoveries that benefit mankind. We are a non-profit, intergovernmental organisation funded by EMBL's 21 member states and two associate member states. Our 570 staff hail from 57 countries, and we welcome a regular stream of visiting scientists throughout the year. We are located on the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton, Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

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