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July 25, 2014

Building a better beer? U of M scientist helps map barley genome

An international team that includes University of Minnesota scientist Gary Muehlbauer has mapped the genome of barley, one of the world’s oldest domesticated crops, the Associated Press reports. The grain is also among the planet’s most important and genetically complex cereal crops.

The researchers say their work could lead to higher crop yields, improve barley’s ability to fight pests and diseases, and improve its nutritional value, the AP says.

Muehlbauer says the research could also “accelerate breeding improvements to help barley adapt to climate change,” the University says in a press release.

The results of research has just been published in the journal Nature.

The scientists faced a big challenge in part because the barley genome is twice the size of the human genome, RedOrbit reports. Improvements to the barley grain, a key ingredient in beer, could lead to a better brew, RedOrbit says.