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The complete sequence of the huge wheat genome is published this week, and the enormous dataset will accelerate innovation in breeding resilient and disease resistant crops to feed a growing global population. Wheat is the most widely-cultivated crop on Earth. It provides more protein than meat in the human diet, and contributes about a fifth of calories consumed by humans.


Researchers at the University of Oxford and the Chinese Academy of Sciences discover a new gene which improves yields of cereal crops such as wheat and rice, using less fertilizer.“Elite crops” can be grown to maintain their current high yields with less fertilizer, according to a paper published online this week in Nature.


The first funding from a £90 million fund that aims to revolutionise how food is produced and dramatically reduce its environmental impact launches later this month. The Transforming Food Production Challenge, part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, will bring together the UK’s world-leading agri-food sector with robotics, satellite, data and digital technologies and artificial intelligence to make the UK a world leader in the precision farming techniques needed to make sure the planet is able to feed a population of nine billion people by 2050.


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