Wheat is one the 3 main crops around the world, and the most widely grown in hectares. It has a large and complex genome that may have enabled it to adapt to many different environments.
Technology has now advanced to a stage where we can sequence and assemble not one, but many wheat genomes from different locations and with different traits. We are combining genomics and genetics to better understand wheat genetics, and how to breed better wheat varieties with better yield while being more resistant to stress and disease.
Matt did his PhD in the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, finishing in 2002 before moving back to the UK’s at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute – both on zebrafish genomics.
After the Zebrafish genome publication in Nature, on which he was joint first author, he started his own group in 2011 at the BBSRC’s new genomics centre, TGAC (now renamed as Earlham Institute), where he learnt a lot of plant genomics, and stayed for 7 years finishing as Head of Technology Development. He left to briefly work in Cambridge at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, before joining the Natural History Museum in 2018 to add to their genomics research such as the adventurous Darwin Tree of Life project to sequence all eukaryote species genomes in the UK.