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Generating and evaluating a novel genetic resource in wheat in diverse environments - AR0914

Description


Abstract of Research Proposal

Two significant aspects of DEFRA policy are to support the continued expansion and development of organic agriculture and to reduce pesticide use in non-organic agriculture. The proposed project has the overall goal of helping to realise both of these aspects for the production of wheat. Our objective is to increase the sustainability and competitiveness of organic and other extensive farming systems by developing genetically diverse wheat populations that will respond rapidly to on-farm selection for improved productivity and yield. It is well established that modern varieties of wheat perform poorly under the conditions and management options encountered in organic farming systems. This is due to a number of factors including poor competition against weeds, narrow resistance against pests and disease, inability to efficiently utilise soil bound nutrients and the lack of genetic flexibility to buffer against environmental variation. To develop a conventional, new wheat breeding programme, from start to release of adapted varieties, would take many years. The approach we propose can deliver this material quickly. This will be achieved through the production of appropriate composite-cross populations of winter wheat. The research will provide material adapted to basic organic conditions that can then be further selected on-farm. This will also be of benefit to non-organic farms as the populations will posses broad resistance to pests and disease and improved competitive ability against weeds, so minimising the need for crop protection inputs. The research will deliver a unique insight into the evolution of genetically diverse wheat populations, under a diverse range of environments, which will allow the elucidation of gene x environment interactions. In addition, it will provide information on the characters of winter wheat that confer improved productivity under a diversity of environmental conditions. Samples of the resulting winter wheat composite cross populations will be placed in the gene bank at the John Innes Centre.

Summary of Objectives

To increase the sustainability and competitiveness of organic and other extensive farming systems by developing genetically diverse wheat populations that will respond rapidly to on-farm selection for improved productivity and yield.

1. To Generate six distinct, highly heterogeneous composite-cross populations of winter wheat for further development and selection. The populations will comprise; one with parental material selected for good milling potential, one with parents selected for high yield potential and one comprising both sets of parent material. Each of these populations will then be split to either include or exclude heritable male sterility.
2. To evaluate the performance and evolution of composite-cross populations over time under a diverse range of environmental conditions and identify characteristics that confer improved productivity in these environments.
3. To track the genetic changes that accompany selection, so providing a better understanding of the assemblages of traits that underlie improved productivity in diverse environments.
4. To provide genetically diverse crop material for further selection by farmers and as a resource for future publicly funded research.
5. To disseminate the results to the scientific community and industry.

Funding Information
£332,000

Start date 1 November 2001
Completion date: 31 October 2006
Objective
Overall objective:

To increase the sustainability and competitiveness of both non-organic and organic farming systems by developing genetically diverse wheat populations that will respond rapidly to on-farm selection for improved productivity and yield.

1. To generate six distinct, highly heterogeneous composite-cross populations of winter wheat for further development and selection. The populations will comprise; one with parental material selected for good milling potential, one with parents selected for high yield potential and one comprising both sets of parent material. Each of these populations will then be split to either include or exclude heritable male sterility.
2. To evaluate the performance and evolution of composite-cross populations over time under a diverse range of environmental conditions and identify characteristics that confer improved productivity in these environments.
3. To track the genetic changes that accompany selection, so providing a better understanding of the assemblages of traits that underlie improved productivity in diverse environments.
4. To provide genetically diverse crop material for further selection by farmers and as a resource for future publicly funded research.
5. To disseminate the results to the scientific community and industry
Project Documents
• Final Report : Generating and Evaluating a Novel Genetic Resource in Wheat in Diverse Environments   (161k)
• Final Report : Generating and Evaluating a Novel Genetic Resource in Wheat in Diverse Environments Full Report   (316k)
• Final Report - Annex : Generating and Evaluating a Novel Genetic Resource in Wheat in Diverse Environments Dissemination   (42k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2001

To: 2008

Cost: £391,620
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Elm Farm Research Centre
Keywords
Arable Farming              
Biotechnology              
Crop Improvement              
Farming              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Wheat Production              
Fields of Study
Arable Crops