New Mendelspod Series Kicks Off with Arizona’s Rod Wing

We’re proud to be sponsoring a new series of podcasts from the great folks at Mendelspod, who have been producing informative interviews with interesting scientists for several years now. We don’t have anything to do with the podcasts themselves, but we think they’re an important educational tool for the biotech field.

This series focuses on challenges in sequencing, and Rod Wing, director of the Arizona Genomics Institute, is a great first participant. Wing is best known in the plant genomics community for his commitment to high-quality assemblies of important crop genomes, such as rice. His focus on these crops serves as a response to the challenge of how we’ll generate enough food to feed an expected 9 billion people by 2050 — a question he talks about in some detail in this kick-off podcast.

We have long been impressed by Wing’s mastery of large DNA fragments (many scientists rely on his BAC resources), and in this podcast he speaks about the importance of long-read sequencing in establishing gold-standard genome assemblies. De novo sequencing is critical when it comes to cataloguing the full genetic variety of organisms, such as various rice strains, Wing tells Mendelspod’s Theral Timpson.

The first half of the podcast focuses on the supercrops that Wing and others are trying to breed. Then around the 19 minute mark, Wing begins talking about the limitations of assemblies based on short-read sequence (they’re full of hot air, he says) and the need for higher-quality assemblies.

We’re already looking forward to the next episode, and hope that you have the time to listen as well.

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