The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) is an international collaborative consortium, established in 2005 by a group of wheat growers, plant scientists, and public and private breeders. The goal of the IWGSC is to make a high quality genome sequence of bread wheat publicly available, in order to serve as a foundation for the accelerated development of improved varieties and to empower all aspects of basic and applied wheat science.
The IWGSC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in the United States and is led by a Board of Directors, a Leadership Team, and a Coordinating Committee. The Board of Directors decides the overall strategy and the Leadership Team is in charge of the daily management. The Coordinating Committee, composed of sponsors and leaders of IWGSC projects, is responsible for establishing the overall scientific strategy and the strategic roadmap.
The IWGSC scientific strategy has four key milestones:
- Clone-based physical maps that serve as a substrate for sequencing;
- Survey sequences of the 21 bread wheat chromosomes;
- Reference sequences for each of the 21 bread wheat chromosomes; and
- Gold standard sequence composed of integrating chromosome based genomic resources with the IWGSC whole genome assembly.
In addition, the IWGSC is coordinating various wheat genomic data projects and the subsequent deposition of wheat genomic data into the IWGSC database hosted by URGI. These projects include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Draft sequences and assemblies of six diploid and tetraploid related species
- Physical mapping and sequencing of Aegilops tauschii
- Transcriptome and RNA-Seq data
- Markers, QTL, and MetaQTLs
- SNP data aligned to all physical maps
- Variation data derived from whole exome capture and genotyping by sequencing approaches
- Genes and annotation
- Genetic Maps.
The IWGSC organizes at least three scientific conferences and workshops each year typically held in conjunction with other relevant meetings such as the annual Plant and Animal Genome Conference and international wheat meetings.
Each year, the IWGSC recognizes significant scientific achievements by giving awards to young scientists (Early Career Award) and accomplished scientists (Outstanding Leadership Award).
The IWGSC has two types of membership. Coordinating Committee members are individuals or organizations who support the IWGSC through scientific contributions or through financial contributions. General membership is open to any individual who is interested in supporting the goals and activities of the consortium.
The IWGSC has 16 sponsors:
- Arcadia Biosciences
- Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics
- Bayer CropScience
- Céréales Vallée
- Florimond Desprez
- Institute of Experimental Botany
- Kansas Wheat