New study unlocks key parts of wheat genome

In a major breakthrough scientists have unlocked key parts of the complex genetic code of wheat, one of the world's most important crops, holding out the promise of increased food security.

According to the researchers, the data would help accelerate the development of varieties more resistant to disease and drought that lead to crop failure.

Extreme weather events around the world have resulted in sharp rises of wheat prices in 2012.

The findings have been published in detail in the journal Nature.

The 2011 global output of 681 million tonnes made bread wheat the third most-produced food crop (behind maize and rice) and accounting for around 20 per cent of the calories consumed by the world's population.

The study involved scientists from the UK, the US and Germany who had built on the 2010 publication of the draft genome, resulting in the development of tools that could decipher the genetic code of segments of the genome.