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Australian software to enable better plant breeding

CANBERRA (Xinhua) – Australian researchers have developed a new software tool with advanced genome-sequencing powers to increase the speed at which crops can be improved through breeding.

Developed by a team from the University of Adelaide’s Biometry Hub, the tool called CoreDetector efficiently handles challenging genome-sequencing tasks for a wide range of species, the university said in a press release on Tuesday.

By sequencing the DNA of a species, researchers are better able to understand their genetics and breed improved varieties.

According to the University of Adelaide research, by more efficiently aligning large and evolutionary diverse genomes of plants, CoreDetetector enables faster and more accurate breeding of crops that are more resilient to a changing climate.

“There are few tools which have the functionality to handle large and evolutionary diverse genomes, but CoreDetector harnesses the power of computational parallelisation to undertake the cumbersome task of pairwise sequence alignment between population member genomes,” co-leader Julian Taylor said.

In addition to its underlying research, CoreDetector’s software was also made available online, making it free for anyone who can benefit from it.

“We believe free access to CoreDetector will continue to allow rapid advancement in genetic research of diverse populations,” Mario Fruzangohar, co-leader of the project, said.

“This will provide an efficient genome sequence analysis tool to plant breeders and researchers, which can form a component of an analytical pipeline for improving our genetic understanding of biological organisms.”

Taylor and Fruzangohar are now working on the next iteration of their technology to enable it to construct pan-genomes, which capture the entire set of genes from all strains within a species.