A key genetic code for bread wheat, Triticum aestivum, has been discovered by U.S. and Chinese scientists. The sequencing and drafting of the A genome, one of the three basic genomes of wheat, was published on the website of the journal Nature on Monday.

Researchers present the generation, assembly and analysis of a whole-genome shotgun draft sequence of the genome of wheat T. urartu, the donor of the A genome.

The discovery is expected to help improve the crop’s productivity and ability withstand extreme weather conditions. The wheat genome is extremely complex and large, which has made understanding wheat’s genome difficult for researchers.

This latest achievement is expected allow scientists to identify around 38,000 wheat genes, which will help accelerate deeper genomic breeding studies to improve wheat varieties.

The research was launched by a team from the Institute of Genetics and Development Biology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and conducted by BIG and the University of California, Davis.