Biotech Updates

Heat Stress on Wheat in Europe - More of a Problem than Drought

August 26, 2011

Heat stress during flowering may have a bigger impact on wheat yield in Europe than drought. Mikhail Semenov and Peter Shewry of Rothamsted Research used a wheat simulation model combined with local-scale climate models to predict the impacts of climate change on European winter wheat yield. Their paper "Modeling predicts that heat stress, not drought, will increase vulnerability of wheat in Europe" was published online in Nature Scientific Reports.

Findings indicate that an increase in the frequency and magnitude of heat stress around the time of flowering could potentially lead to significant yield losses for heat-sensitive wheat varieties commonly grown in northern Europe. Efforts need to be done to develop new wheat varieties that can cope with summer drought and heat stress in Europe.

Funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the research suggests novel breeding targets for UK crops in general and a wheat strategy in particular.

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