You can now watch the DFW open day taster online
While the current pandemic has postponed the DFW open day this year, you can now see what we had planned by video – including a virtual wheat field walk.
Guy Naamati from The European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and Alison Bentley from The National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) have instead filmed two videos which showcase what was planned for the day and also provide a promo for the event next year. The original open day aimed to have a morning session in EMBL-EBI and an afternoon in the NIAB wheat plots nearby. While there are still plans to hold the open day in full next year, both the morning and afternoon videos can now be found below.
EMBL-EBI and Ensembl Plants
Our morning starts off with a brief explanation about what EMBL-EBI does and how this supports crop science and Designing Future Wheat. In particular, we take a closer look at Ensembl Plants which is a Plant Genome Browser and part of Work Package 4 in DFW.
Ensembl Plants is an online platform that allows users to view the genome of wheat, as well as the genomes of many other plant species. Part of the Ensembl Project which was started 20 years ago, the site provides a dependable single point for researchers globally to analyse their chosen plant species freely, with a variety of tools. This not only offers a streamlined interface for genome annotation, it provides an open platform for scientific communities to collaborate through.
The upcoming Ensembl Plants release (101) will also include 5 new UK wheat lines sequenced at The Earlham Institute. These five new wheat lines pose particular potential for modern agriculture.
The current wheat reference (Chinese Spring) has been chosen mostly for historical reasons, and has little breeding value. The 5 new wheat lines that have been sequenced (Claire, Cadenza, Robigus, Paragon and Weebil) have been chosen for breeding qualities. For example paragon is an old elite cultivar used in pre-breeding to bring exotic material into a background that breeders can use, and Cadenza is critical now for research because it was used to produce the Cadenza tilling population. Displaying these wheat lines in Ensembl will be of significant use to the wheat community.
Ensembl 101, including these new wheat lines, is expected be released around mid-July.
NIAB and virtual field walk
Our afternoon video provides a virtual view of the 2020 DFW winter wheat field trials at NIAB in Cambridge, showing pre-breeding nurseries providing assessment of synthetic- and tetraploid-derived wheat lines and yield testing of advanced introgression lines.
2021 open day
Together we hope these videos give a virtual view of what was planned to be a very interesting day. These days are open to researchers, breeders, agriculturalists and interested members of the public.
If you have watched the videos above and would like to attend in person next year, please visit our contact page and register your interest. Alternatively, you can follow updates at either the Embl-EBI or NIAB pages.