Researchers at the University of Western Australia have found 21,000 new genes across 16 wheat varieties according to ABC News. Variations between varieties that were previously unknown were also found.
The findings are expected to have an immediate impact for wheat breeders in Australia, with professor of plant biology David Edwards saying knowing there was a variation between genes could assist in creating disease-resistant varieties of wheat.
“A plant will be resistant because it has a resistance gene, and the susceptible ones will have that gene missing,” he told ABC News.
“We’ve now been able to show for the first time which varieties have that gene and which ones don’t.”
From this information, seed breeders can engineer better varieties of wheat.
The findings are expected to garner international attention, with the university working with major breeding companies who already had interest in the findings.