The four most produced grains around the world are in order corn, rice, wheat, and barley. Barley is the essential ingredient of two of the best drinks know to men: Beer and Whiskey! In 2014, we produced 144 million tons of barley.
In 2012, the grain’s genome was mapped for the first time by the International Barley Genome Sequencing Consortium! See it here. This discovery leads researchers to believe that we could grow a much better-engineered barley grain.
Why do you want better barley?
Adam Rogers one of Wired‘s articles editor said: “But barley has a quality other grains don’t. It’s possible to induce it to make an enzyme, alpha-amylase, that breaks starch into ready-to-use sugar. The process of coaxing that enzyme out is called malting, and malted barley is what you use to make beer—even if you’re adding in other grains like corn or rice, as major American brewers do. The enzyme in the malt turns those grains’ starches into sugar, too, and that’s what yeast converts to alcohol.”
Better barley equals better beer, and probably even more beer!