Biotech Updates

UK Consortium to Do Wheat Breeding Research

February 25, 2011

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council in the United Kingdom has given a £7 million grant to a consortium of researchers to increase the "diversity of traits available in wheat via a comprehensive pre-breeding program." Considered the first of its kind in the UK in over 20 years, the project aims to ensure the sustainability of wheat production in the UK and contribute to global food security.

"There is an urgent need to improve yields of wheat; it is estimated that in the next 50 years we will need to harvest as much wheat as has been produced since the beginning of agriculture 10,000 years ago," said Professor Graham Moore and consortium lead from the John Innes Center. Other members of the consortium include the University of Bristol, University of Nottingham, and Rothamsted Research.

The research project will identify new genetic variation from traditional sources of wheat germplasm to accelerate improvement of modern wheat. In addition, a database of genetic markers for precision breeding will be developed.

Additional details are available at