Barley is one of the most important cereal crop species. It is a close relative to wheat and rye. Its haploid genome size exceeds 5 Gigabases (Gbp), almost twice the size of any fully sequenced organism or crop species. Recently, the International Barley Sequencing Consortium (IBSC) succeeded to establish access to a gene-centric view of the barley genome: a physical map densely integrated with the genetic map and substantiated by ~400 megabases of assembled whole genome shotgun sequence containing more than 20,000 transcriptionally active genes. This resource is under constant improvement and up to now more than 60% of the assembled genomic sequence information (1.2 Gbp) could be integrated into a genetic frame. IBSC is furthermore heading for a complete genome sequence and a minimal tiling path (MTP) of overlapping BAC clones provided by the physical map is being processed for hierarchical map-based sequencing. Raw sequencing data of all 7 barley chromosomes will be accumulated in early 2014.
This step-changing resource of genomic sequence information is enabling true genome scale analysis in barley and lays the foundation for genomics based breeding, crop improvement and comparative / evolutionary analyses within the genus Hordeum and between Triticeae species. State-of-the-art examples of barley genomic research and applications exploiting the potential of the new resource will be presented.