Oat is a cereal crop that is used for food, feed and forage. It has a variety of distinct agronomic strengths including low input requirements, high biotic/abiotic stress tolerance (including take-all resistance), distinctive starch granule properties and healthy grain quality. A better understanding of the genes underpinning important traits in oat is expected to have wide potential for crop improvement. Common cultivated oat (Avena sativa) has a hexaploid genome of ~11,300 Mb that has not yet been sequenced. We recently sequenced the genome of diploid oat (Avena strigosa; genome size 3.92 Gb). Here we will build on this exciting and very significant foundation by: 1) annotating the oat genome sequence; 2) carrying out comparative genomics to investigate why oat is so different from other cereals; 3) mining the oat genome for pathways for the synthesis of specialized metabolites; 4) establishing and validating a prototype reverse genetics platform to enable functional analysis in oat.