Mining Wheat Germplasm Collections for Yield Enhancing Traits uri icon

abstract

  • The material in genebanks includes valuable traditional varieties and landraces, non-domesticated species, advanced and obsolete cultivars, breeding lines and genetic stock. It is the wide variety of potentially useful genetic diversity that makes collections valuable. While most of the yield increases to date have resulted from manipulation of a few major traits (such as height, photoperiodism, and vernalization), meeting future demand for increased yields will require exploitation of novel genetic resources. Many traits have been reported to have potential to enhance yield, and high expression of these can be found in germplasm collections. To boost yield in irrigated situations, spike fertility must be improved simultaneously with photosynthetic capacity. CIMMYT's Wheat Genetic Resources program has identified a source of multi-ovary florets, with up to 6 kernels per floret. Lines from landrace collections have been identified that have very high chlorophyll concentration, which may increase leaf photosynthetic rate. High chlorophyll concentration and high stomatal conductance are associated with heat tolerance. Recent studies, through augmented use of seed multiplication nurseries, identified high expression of these traits in bank accessions, and both traits were heritable. Searches are underway for drought tolerance traits related to remobilization of stem fructans, awn photosynthesis, osmotic adjustment, and pubescence. Genetic diversity from wild relatives through the production of synthetic wheats has produced novel genetic diversity.

publication date

  • 2001
  • 2001