A roadmap for gene functional characterisation in crops with large genomes: lessons from polyploid wheat

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


  • Nikolai M Adamski
  • Jemima Brinton
  • Sophie A Harrington
  • Clémence Marchal
  • Alison R Bentley
  • William D Bovill
  • Luigi Cattivelli
  • James Cockram
  • Bruno Contreras-Moreira
  • Brett Ford
  • Sreya Ghosh
  • Wendy Harwood
  • Keywan Hassani-Pak
  • Sadiye Hayta
  • Lee T Hickey
  • Kostya Kanyuka
  • Julie King
  • Marco Maccaferrri
  • Guy Naamati
  • Curtis J Pozniak
  • Ricardo H Ramirez-Gonzalez
  • Carolina Sansaloni
  • Ben Trevaskis
  • Luzie U Wingen
  • Brande Bh Wulff
  • Cristobal Uauy

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • John Bingham Laboratory, National Institute of Agricultural Botany Cambridge, UK.
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), PMB 2, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.
  • Council for Agricultural Research and Economics
  • European Bioinformatics Institute
  • Rothamsted Research
  • The University of Queensland
  • The Nottingham Trent University
  • Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna (University of Bologna)
  • *Department of Medicine, College of Medicine University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; †Canadian Light Source, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; and ‡Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
  • International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)


Understanding the function of genes within staple crops will accelerate crop improvement by allowing targeted breeding approaches. Despite their importance, a lack of genomic information and resources has hindered the functional characterisation of genes in major crops. The recent release of high-quality reference sequences for these crops underpins a suite of genetic and genomic resources that support basic research and breeding. For wheat, these include gene model annotations, expression atlases and gene networks that provide information about putative function. Sequenced mutant populations, improved transformation protocols and structured natural populations provide rapid methods to study gene function directly. We highlight a case study exemplifying how to integrate these resources. This review provides a helpful guide for plant scientists, especially those expanding into crop research, to capitalise on the discoveries made in Arabidopsis and other plants. This will accelerate the improvement of crops of vital importance for food and nutrition security.

Bibliographic note

© 2020, Adamski et al.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere55646
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2020