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CODE BREAKER: Rudi Appels says the Australia-China Centre for Wheat Quality will one day give Australian farmers an advantage in selling wheat to China.

Appels, wheat, genes, and China

A NEW centre based at Murdoch University is aiming to do for wheat production what the human genome project has done for diagnostic procedures in medicine.

The Australia-China Centre for Wheat Quality is a newly formed research centre that brings together scientists from Australia and China in an effort to get a complete picture of the genes responsible for the various aspects of wheat quality.

Researchers hope they will be able to help breeders and farmers take advantage of shortfalls in Chinese wheat supplies, by being able to match the qualities required by Chinese millers with what Australian farmers are growing.

To do this, centre director Rudi Appels told WA Business News, the project would draw heavily on information already available through the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, of which he is cochair.

“There are about 100,000 genes in wheat, and we now have the data in hand to basically predict all of the proteins that are coded for by the wheat genome,” Professor Appels said.

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