A couple of scientists hailing from Pert have developed crops resistant climate change and could possibly help secure global food supplies by using the latest available technology.
University of Western Australia Biological Sciences School and Institute of Agriculture professors David Edwards and Jacqueline Batley team up with a few other scientists to create the first genome of the field pea.
The two had earlier decoded the genetic makeup of canola, wheat, and chickpeas with huge success. In the last five years, they were arranging for tens of terabytes of data in an attempt to decode the pea’s complex genetics.
The genetic makeup of peas is 50 percent bigger than its human equivalent, spanning 4.45 thousand million letters.
“The field pea was quite a task, to be honest. It was quite a complex genome as well. It took us all lot of repetitive pieces which are extremely tough to combine together,” Professor Edwards explained.
“Suppose that a major storm comes through. It has the potential to destroy the pea crop and that results in major implications on the price of food,” he said.
“When we are supplying these crops, it has a huge effect on food security in developing countries since can’t buy it.
“Food security will in all likelihood be the most dangerous impact of climate change and one that will create shockwaves politically. Problems will come from corners once food prices increase.”
He also mentioned that increase in being able to access new technology and a price cut in terms of costs of genetic sequencing would help the field advance at a fast pace, with Australia being a leader in this field.
Professor Edwards told crop plant genomics was a relatively new area of research and is only slowly building up in terms of momentum.
“What we work on now did not even exist a decade ago,” he said.