Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum, AABBDD) is one of the most widely cultivated and consumed food crops in the world. However, the complex polyploid nature of its genome makes genetic and functional analyses extremely challenging. The A genome, as a basic genome of bread wheat and other polyploid wheats, for example, T. turgidum (AABB), T. timopheevii (AAGG) and T. zhukovskyi (AAGGA(m)A(m)), is central to wheat evolution, domestication and genetic improvement. The progenitor species of the A genome is the diploid wild einkorn wheat T. urartu, which resembles cultivated wheat more extensively than do Aegilops speltoides (the ancestor of the B genome) and Ae. tauschii (the donor of the D genome), especially in the morphology and development of spike and seed. Here we present the generation, assembly and analysis of a whole-genome shotgun draft sequence of the T. urartu genome. We identified protein-coding gene models, performed genome structure analyses and assessed its utility for analysing agronomically important genes and for developing molecular markers. Our T. urartu genome assembly provides a diploid reference for analysis of polyploid wheat genomes and is a valuable resource for the genetic improvement of wheat.