The complete sequence of the huge wheat genome was published on 16 August 2018, and the enormous dataset will accelerate innovation in breeding resilient and disease resistant crops to feed a growing global population. Wheat is the most widely-cultivated crop on Earth. It provides more protein than meat in the human diet, and contributes about a fifth of calories consumed by humans. It also has a large and complex genome with 16 billion base pairs -- the building blocks of DNA -- which is more than five times larger than the human genome. But wheat is susceptible to drought and flood, and swathes of the crop are damaged each year by diseases such as wheat rust. The sequencing of its genome paves the way for much faster production of wheat varieties adapted to climate challenges, with higher yields, enhanced nutritional quality and improved sustainability. Sequencing the genome has long been a huge challenge. As well as its enormity, it has three sub-genomes and a large part of it is composed of repetitive elements. This means that vast parts of the genome are very similar, if not identical, to each other. This has made it difficult, until now, to distinguish each sub-genome and to put together the genome into its correct order. A paper published in Science by the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium and a second paper led by a team at the John Innes Centre significantly shortened the time to test whether genetic markers really do point to traits such as drought resistance and breeders can get new varieties to market more quickly. (Source: Agriculture and Food News, ScienceDaily. "Tackling the colossal wheat genome has been a Herculean challenge" - Dr Cristobal Uauy, Project Leader in crop genetics at the John Innes Centre Photo Credit: Ruby O'Grady - John Innes Centre