In a move designed to significantly boost industrywide research and enhance nutritional applications of wheat and other major cereal crops, DuPont says it is making proprietary wheat genome data available to public and private researchers without restriction.

The DuPont contribution, consisting of more than 200,000 lines of expressed sequence tags (ESTs), portions of a gene which can be used to locate an entire gene, more than doubles the amount of wheat genome information currently available to researchers through GenBank, a public database of DNA information held by the National Institutes of Health.

An important piece in overall crop science research, DuPont's contribution will considerably increase the amount of wheat genetic information widely available to scientists across the globe. A greater knowledge about the wheat genome will help advance the research of all cereal crops that feed a bulk of the people in the developing world.

“Making this data available to the public is consistent with the long tradition of DuPont of advancing science and crop genetics research worldwide,” said Jim Miller, vice president, DuPont Crop Genetics Research and Development. “We are confident this data will strengthen the collaborative efforts among crop scientists and lead to the development of new and improved wheat varieties.”

According to Miller, sharing this data with researchers worldwide will enhance the overall understanding of one of agriculture's most complex genomes.

“The wheat genome is significantly larger and more complex than most crops,” said Miller. “Making this data available, without restrictions, will bolster many ongoing research efforts and provide a foundation for the development of advanced varieties that benefit growers, breeders and consumers.”

DuPont and its subsidiary, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., will continue to aggressively research and develop improved wheat varieties. Pioneer is a leading provider of wheat varieties in the United States and Europe.

As the most widely consumed crop in the world, wheat holds the key to vast and innovative nutritional applications in feeding a growing world population. Enhanced by this new research, wheat's unique traits also will help produce better end-use characteristics for new generations of wheat products.

“People across the globe, especially in developing countries, rely on wheat as an essential part of their diet more than any other cereal crop,” according to Olin Anderson, research leader with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and coordinator of wheat and barley ESTs for the International Triticeae Mapping Initiative.

“Better understanding of the wheat genome will greatly benefit ongoing research efforts and, ultimately, improve the nutritional value of such a vital component of the world's food supply. The DuPont EST donation is a valuable addition to GenBank because these specific ESTs were not previously represented.”