With six sets of chromosomes, the hexaploid cultivated oat (Avena sativa L.) has a complex evolutionary history. In this week’s issue, Nick Sirijovski and his colleagues present a high-quality reference genome for A. sativa alongside those for its close relatives the diploid Avena longiglumis and the tetraploid Avena insularis. By examining the three genomes, the researchers were able to trace genomic reorganizations in the crop’s evolution. They were also able to map the genes for important agronomic traits, highlighting gene families linked to human health and nutrition. With health and sustainability high on global agendas, the team hopes this new resource will bolster genomics-assisted breeding and trait studies to address these challenges and more.