On the Nature of things

Last week, the paper describing the sequencing of the hexaploid oat variety 'Sang', along with accessions of Avena longiglumis and A. insularis, was published in the journal 'Nature'. Congratulations to Nadia Kamal, Nikos Renhuldt, et al., for a fabulous achievement! A plain-language summary of the article was also published in 'Nature'. Nick Tinker, one of the authors of that paper and lead author of the companion paper describing QTL locations, has written a piece describing the work and what it took to bring everything together. You can find that article in the "Research Reports" section of the newsletter.

JBrowse tracks and associated information for all three genomes are available on the GrainGenes website. Phenotypic data from the QTL paper are available from the T3/Oat database. GrainGenes also has new tools for BLASTing protein sequences and performing BLAST searches directly from a genome browser. The latter can be done by using the highlight tool to choose a region on a chromosome, then choosing 'BLAST' from the menu bar.

Further regarding the Sang paper, a number of articles about it have now appeared in the press:

This work is particularly important to people in Australia and New Zealand, as one part of the study confirmed that pure oats should be well-tolerated by most individuals with celiac disease. Unlike in Canada and elsewhere, oats may not currently be marketed to people in Australia or New Zealand who have the condition.

One of the keynote addresses at the International Oat Conference in Australia this October will concern "Getting oats on the menu for people with coeliac disease". That will be presented by Jason Tye-Din, another of the authors on the 'Nature' paper. You can see a new video advertising the conference on YouTube, and remember that there are other workshops and a field day associated with the conference. Different registration packages are available.

Also in Australia, Melania Figueroa is asking for samples of crown rust to be sent to her lab for analysis. There is also still time to apply for the postdoc position in her lab.

Similarly, Oluseyi Fajolu, at the USDA Cereal Rust Lab in St. Paul, Minnesota, is requesting that samples of crown rust, stem rust, and FHB be sent to her. Oluseyi’s address is in the Cereal Rust Bulletin, which has just been updated. Please let her know if you need sample envelopes or self-addressed stamped envelopes.

Lots of other work on oats is continuing, of course, and there are four more new articles in the "Research Reports" section: one from Ziya Dumlupinar’s group and three from groups with which Catherine Howarth is associated. Summaries of published articles, interim reports, short research communications, interesting stories and observations, or even negative results are all suitable for publication as Research Reports in the newsletter. Submissions should be sent to oatnewsletter@gmail.com.

Catherine will be one of the speakers at the first Industry Day workshop to be held by the "Healthy Oats" group at UC Dublin in Ireland. This meeting will be held in person and virtually on June 14th, with presentations about oat production and product development. Those who wish to participate should contact chanemouga.arunachalam1@ucd.ie.

One benefit of having something like the 'Nature' paper published is that funding agencies will begin to see oat research as being deserving of more funding (one hopes, anyway). There is a call for NIFA funding applications in the USA for the Agricultural Genome to Phenome Initiative (AG2PI). The closing date for applications is July 21st.

In Canada, consultations are starting on the development of a pan-Canadian genomics strategy. Surveys must be completed by June 24th. Génome Québec has already been funding genomics research in oat (article in French).

More funding means more jobs, and Nils Stein, at IPK Leibniz in Germany, has a job opening for a new postdoc to work on pangenomics of small grain cereals. The deadline for applications is June 17th.

It is in our nature to be curious – let’s see what we can do next!