The impact of DNA sequencing technology on agriculture

Published on July 1, 2014   36 min

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Other Talks in the Series: Agricultural Genetics

Hi, I'm Stephanie Pearl, and I'm a researcher at the University of Georgia. Today, I will be giving you an overview about some of the ways recent advances in DNA sequencing technology has impacted agriculture. You may notice that some of the topics that I touch on today are covered in much more detail in some of the other lectures within the agricultural genetics section of the Henry Stewart talks.
So I will begin with an overview. And I'll begin by giving an introduction in which I first talk about some of the world's most important crops, and introduce them in the context of breeding and genomics. And then I'll delve into a little bit more information on how one goes about conducting a sequencing project. And then, how does one actually apply the sequencing data to advancing breeding populations? And then, I'll conclude with some thoughts looking forward. So to begin.
Pictured here is a list of 12 the world's most important crops. And this is based on total area harvested. And I've listed their genome sizes. So for example, if you look at ground nut or peanut, you could see that has a genome 3 billion base pairs. And I've also listed the ploidy level, or the total number of copies of chromosomes in each of these species. If you look at potato, you can actually see that different individuals have variable ploidy levels, starting from diploid all the way up to hexaploid. And I've also listed the top production areas. So there's quite a bit of information listed on this slide. So you may wish to pause for a moment to take it all in. Really, there are just a few points that I wish to make here. First of all, these are the 12 most important crops as of the year 2012. And this ordering has remain relatively unchanged in the past 50 years. Therefore, because of the importance of these crops, they have been the focus of genomics analyses. And so here, with the red stars next to each one of the crops, I've indicated which species have genome sequence data. So what about wheat, sugar cane, sunflower, and peanut? Why don't they have whole genome sequence data yet? Well, this is currently a work in progress. And as you look at the genome size and ploidy level of these species, you can see that compared to the other ones, they're a bit more unwieldy to deal with. So how is genomics data used to advance and improve these crops? Well, before I answer that question, let's first consider how traditional breeding proceed.

The impact of DNA sequencing technology on agriculture

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