DNA sequencing technology is undergoing a revolution with the commercialisation of second generation technologies capable of sequencing thousands of millions of nucleotide bases in each run. The data explosion resulting from this technology is likely to continue to increase with the further development of second generation sequencing and the introduction of third generation single molecule sequencing methods over the coming years. The question is no longer whether we can sequence genomes, but how soon can we sequence them? Even cereal genomes such as wheat and barley which were once considered intractable are coming under the spotlight of the new sequencing technologies and an array of new projects and approaches are being established. Metagenomics applications are providing unprecidented insights into microbial diversity and function. However, the challenge remains to convert this mass of data into knowledge that can be applied in crop breeding programs.
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