Welcome to the 4th Phase of WGIN (2018-2023)

Defra Wheat Genetic Improvement Network:

WGIN 4 - Improving the resilience, efficiency and stability of the wheat crop through genetics and targeted trait analysis


WGIN 4 has been funded by Defra until July 2023. Due to Covid this has now been extended until July 2024!



The strategy for WGIN4 including continuing as well as new projects is shown below:

A summary of WGIN3 achievements and the WGIN4 core project can be found here.




1) The 19th WGIN Stakeholders' Meeting was held on Wednesday March 30th 2022, yet again as an online only event. Many thanks to Sheila Bishop (RRes) for her help in setting this online event up. Presentations can be found under the 'Stakeholders' drop-down menu in 'Meetings'.

This year's Panel Discussion topic was "The implications of reduced input agriculture on wheat breeding and crop productivity". Introductory presentations were given by Stéphanie Swarbreck (NIAB) and Peter Shewry (RRes). The panel discussion members were David Felce (agrii), Dominic Amos (organic research centre), Mark Tucker (YARA), Stephanie Swarbreck (NIAB), Timothy Parton (Farmer) and Joe Brennan (UK Flour Millers).

Peter Shewry (RRes), our longstanding WGIN chairman, guided the discussion throughout. As a lot of interesting questions were raised and discussed, a recording of the whole discussion can be accessed from here. This also includes Stephanie Swarbreck's and Peter Shewry's introductory presentations. And here's a snapshot of the panel:


2) The next WGIN 4 Management Meeting will take place on June 29th 2022.

3) The April 2021 edition of the WGIN Stakeholders' Newsletter can be viewed here.

4) The WGIN Legacy document, covering the achievements and outcomes of the first TEN years (WGIN 1 2003-2008, WGIN 2 2009-2014) is now available to peruse by clicking this link: WGIN 1&2 Legacy

5) An article by Heather Briggs about WGIN has been published in the June 2018 Edition of Arable Farming. The article can be found here.


WGIN videos:

For the first time, as part of WGIN4 we are now in the process of creating videos about various aspects of WGIN and making these available to website visitors.

As a start, you can view a 6min video about wheat crossing and the rationale for trying to introgress T.monococcum into bread wheat here.


Upcoming Events:




Release of compiled yield and NUE data for WGIN Diversity trial, 2004-2019


The Wheat Genetic Improvement Network (WGIN) germplasm diversity trial is an example of a multi-variety, multi-N treatment series of trials conducted over multiple years. Data from the initial years (2004-2008) of these trials reported variation in yield and N-responses and contributing physiological processes (Barraclough et al. 2010; 2014). The trials have continued to the present date and have involved a large panel of modern commercial hexaploid wheats (varieties introduced between 1964 and 2016) and data has been compiled for trials from 2004-2019 and is available on this website. In most years there were four N rates, from zero to 350 kg N/ha/yr, which represents no input through to excess applied N. All trials were conducted following local commercial agronomic practice, at the Rothamsted Farm in Hertfordshire in the UK. Whilst more than 60 varieties were examined in total, a smaller subset of 15 core varieties have been grown for most years.

All data can be accessed by following this link.

A forthcoming Frontiers in Plant Science paper presents an overview, and a soon to be published Defra report will give a detailed statistical evaluation.

Professor Malcolm Hawkesford (malcolm.hawkesford@rothamsted.ac.uk), Head of the Plant Sciences Department and the Designing Future Wheat Institute Strategic Programme at Rothamsted.
Honorary Professor in Plant Sciences in the School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham



***Paragon Library***


The latest update to the Paragon Library, version 2.3, is now available for download.

WGIN has been part of an informal consortium developing NILs in the genetic background of the UK spring wheat Paragon. The collection, known as the Paragon Library, was developed at JIC and currently consists of around 350 lines.  The project involves crossing different combinations of genes, QTLs and mutations into the common background of Paragon and then studying the phenotypic effects.  NILs are currently available for multiple alleles of: Rht-D1, Rht-B1, Rht8, Lr19, 1BL.1RS, Yield (7B), Grain Size (5A, 7A) and more than 10 Heading Date QTL. Further lines will be added in the future.

The Paragon Library lines have been genotyped on the Axiom 35K Breeders' Array and data for about 300 lines is now available to download here and the figure to the right indicates the format of the data. Please note that this is a substantial update, version 2.3 . More details can be found under the 'Resources' tab and the 'Paragon Library' submenu.

Seed collected from the genotyped plants are now available for distribution on request and we hope they will eventually become available through the Germplasm Resources Unit (GRU) at JIC.





***High Density Genotyping of

18 WGIN AxC Near Isogenic Lines***

The WGIN AxC DH population has been exploited by many research groups around the world. NILs for WGIN QTLs have allowed us to show the value of the genes underlying these QTL for breeding and agriculture. Now Simon Griffiths’ group @ JIC has embarked upon the generation of a population where segments of the entire wheat genomes of Avalon or Cadenza are represented in individual lines of the opposite background. These will provide a unique resource for targeted screening of discrete chromosomal regions of interest through crosses to specific lines.
The initial stage of this process has been to genotype eighteen of these NILs, representing most of the identified QTLs, on the 820K Axiom Array at the University of Bristol Genomics Facility. All six detailed maps as well as information about them can be accessed here.


WGIN Background

The UK government is committed to more sustainable agriculture but this vision is facing an ever expanding range of environmental, energy and climate change challenges. Wheat is grown on a larger area and is more valuable than any other arable crop in the UK. Established in 2003, the Wheat Genetic Improvement Network (WGIN) Diagram of WGIN in the Wider Contextarose directly from a realisation in the early 2000s that over the preceding two decades there had been a widening disconnection between commercial plant breeding activities and publicly funded plant and crop research. The overall aim of WGIN is to generate pre-breeding material carrying novel traits for the UK breeding companies and to deliver accessible technologies, thereby ensuring the means are available to produce new,improved varieties. An integrated scientific 'core' which combines underpinning work on molecular markers, genetic and genomic research, together with novel trait identification, are being pursued to achieve this goal. The predicted wider impacts of the project can be viewed in the impact networks which were developed for each of the scientific objectives.


OLD Site - The old site is still available here.

Disclaimer: The site and all images provided on the WGIN website are © 2009 Rothamsted Research unless otherwise indicated. No image may be copied, reproduced, used or distributed without the permission of the copyright owner.

In all work which uses the DH Avalon x Cadenza population the following text must be cited: The population of doubled-haploid (DH) individuals, derived from F1 progeny of a cross between cvs Avalon and Cadenza, was developed by Clare Ellerbrook, Liz Sayers and the late Tony Worland (John Innes Centre), as part of a Defra funded project led by ADAS. The parents were originally chosen (to contrast for canopy architecture traits) by Steve Parker (CSL), Tony Worland and Darren Lovell (Rothamsted Research).

This Page Was Last Edited: 31-May-2022