One of the challenges for the team at TGAC is the wheat genome, which is five times bigger than the human genome and much more complex. Since wheat is a staple diet for over 30% of the world’s population, we are focused on improving yields for an increasing population (estimates predict nine billion people worldwide by 2050) against the challenges of less space to grow wheat and heat, drought and pathogens that severely deplete wheat yield worldwide. By understanding the genomic building blocks of wheat and its diversity, we can help breeders overcome some of these obstacles.
Accelerating genomics analysis remains one of the toughest challenges in life science research. All manner of optimizations are in use – disk streaming, optimized parallel files systems, algorithm tweaks, faster processors, and hardware accelerators, to name a few – all with varying results. Alignment against reference genomes is a fundamental task undertaken daily by TGAC researchers. Efficiency gains were needed due to the high throughput of genomic data processed at TGAC, where sequence alignment is critical to many sequencing projects.