Objectives and Progress

Agreed Objectives

Build on foundations of Wheat Lola and continue to develop complementary populations for screening:

  • Develop germplasm for identification, dissection, and assessment of novel genetic variation for traits available in landraces and other exotic bread wheat lines, not yet deployed in UK germplasm, and facilitate deployment into UK wheat breeding.
  • Extend bread wheat gene pool by understanding, exploiting and incorporating novel genetic diversity from diploid and tetraploid Triticeae genomes.
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  • Significantly increase gene pool of wheat via introgression of genetic variation from related wild and cultivated Triticeae (alien) species).

Screen novel germplasm to identify lines with most potential for introduction into elite lines by wheat breeders, and lines best adapted for research to understand biology of key traits:

  • Use recently identified SNPs to genotype lines and populations developed in each of four pillars and link to information generated within phenotyping theme.
  • Identify new phenotypic variation for key UK wheat breeding traits, and to identify genetic and physiological basis of this variation by screening diverse wheat germplasm collections and precise genetic stocks derived from these collections.

Main outputs to date:

  • A wheat diversity toolkit containing 48 wheat lines capturing the useful genetic diversity for BM, NUE, and Take All resistance in landraces, has been provided to the breeders in June 2014, and is being grown globally by the breeders. The toolkit includes genotypic and phenotypic data. The toolkit is available to academics on request, and is unencumbered by any IP restrictions.
  • Website detailing the lines and information available for breeders and academics. This has led to multiple requests (commercial and academic) for the Watkins core set, Paragon x Watkins populations, and genetic maps.
  • “Beyond WISP”, UK academics are exploiting the toolkit lines as a novel source of yellow rust, brown rust and eyespot resistance, and high/low fiber content for food and health.
  • Six monthly reports reviewing progress and available germplasm for the breeders.
  • Showcasing the toolkit lines at a “Breeders day” at JIC, June 2013, 2014, attended by representatives of all major European breeding companies, BBSRC, DEFRA, HGCA, KTNs, and at the Cereals Show in a joint WISP display with RRES to the UK Cereal Farming community.
  • Annual WISP course on wheat Genetics (2012 and 2013,) attended by students, breeders, policy makers and postdoctoral researchers based in institutions from ten countries and six companies. The participants gave the course an overall rating of excellent.