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Bringing wild wheat‚??s untapped diversity into elite lines
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: December 13, 2021 04:56PM

A collaboration involving 15 international institutes across eight
countries has optimized efforts tointroduce beneficial traits from wild
wheat accessions in genebanks
[doi.org] existing wheat varieties.

The findings, published inNature Food
[doi.org], extend many potential
benefits to national breeding programs, including improved wheat
varieties better equipped to thrive in changing environmental
conditions. This research was led by Sukhwinder Singh of the
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) as part of
theSeeds of Discovery project
[www.cimmyt.org].

Since the advent of modern crop improvement practices, there has been a
bottleneck of genetic diversity, because many national wheat breeding
programs use the same varieties in their crossing program as their
‚??elite‚?Ě source. This practice decreases genetic diversity, putting more
areas of wheat at risk to pathogens and environmental stressors, now
being exacerbated by a changing climate. As the global population grows,
shocks to the world‚??s wheat supply result in more widespread dire
consequences.

The research team hypothesized that many wheat accessions in genebanks ‚??
groups of related plant material from a single species collected at one
time from a specific location ‚?? feature useful traits for national
breeding programs to employ in their efforts to diversify their breeding
programs.

‚??Genebanks hold many diverse accessions of wheat landraces and wild
species with beneficial traits, but until recently the entire scope of
diversity has never been explored and thousands of accessions have been
sitting on the shelves. Our research targets beneficial traits in these
varieties through genome mapping and then we can deliver them to
breeding programs around the world,‚?Ě Singh said.

Currently adopted approaches to introduce external beneficial genes into
breeding programs‚?? elite cultivars take a substantial amount of time and
money. ‚??Breeding wheat from a national perspective is a race against
pathogens and other abiotic threats,‚?Ě said Deepmala Sehgal, co-author
and wheat geneticist in the Global Wheat program at CIMMYT. ‚??Any
decrease in the time to test and release a variety has a huge positive
impact on breeding programs.‚?Ě

Bringing wild wheat‚??s untapped diversity into elite lines ‚?? CIMMYT
[www.cimmyt.org]



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