Research objectives

Research effort will focus on two main topics: resource development and targeted traits. The figure below outlines the research objectives within the general organisation of the project.

A. Resource development (Objectives 2 to 6)


The philosophy of resource development within WGIN is to provide a unique set of resources that enable the wheat research and breeding communities to address strategic objectives of defra for UK wheat production. With these resources we can identify and then manipulate genetic mechanisms involved in the control of resistance to biotic stress, resource use efficiency and yield stability. The outcomes of this work will strengthen the response of the UK to climate change, ensuring sustainable production, a thriving farming community and a strong rural economy. WGIN will continue to develop the following types of resource: germplasm that cannot be developed within the timeframes of most funded grants; genomic resources where the cost could not be justified for the benefit of a single piece of research; and ’off-the-shelf’ resources available immediately for spin-off projects that can be funded by schemes such as LINK. Objectives for WGIN - extending the gene discovery pipeline The resource development element of WGIN will continue to address limiting factors for the future genetic improvement of wheat. We will put tools and resources in place that enable the identification and exploitation of useful genetic variation. The roles of these resources and their place in the wider strategies necessary for the identification and exploitation of useful genetic variation in wheat are summarised in Figure 1. The rationale for their inclusion in WGIN is described below.

For further information on each individual objective please go to the drop down menue.

B. Targeted traits (objectives 7 to 12)

Overall introduction

The six main trait topics we propose to explore in varying degrees of detail are nitrogen use efficiency and grain quality QTLs, drought tolerance, resistance to take-all disease, introgression of extreme resistance to Septoria leaf blotch from a diploid wheat and resistance to aphids. Four of the selected traits are soil-based and therefore are potentially highly inter-related. For example, a lack of drought tolerance would be expected to limit nitrogen uptake and increase susceptibility to take-all disease. Whereas genotypes exhibiting good resistance to take-all infections on the roots would therefore have an intact root system available to uptake effectively both water and nitrogen as key stages during crop growth and development. The two foliar traits namely improved resistance against insect and Septoria leaf blotch infections also link well with the NUE trait because lush growing wheat crops are know to be exceptionally vulnerable to these two biotic stresses. First of all, the research envisaged is described for each trait individually. In the fourth section, a series of joint experiments are proposed once the most suitable contrasting germplasm for soil-based each trait / trait parameter has been identified. It should also be noted that the key resource the Avalon X Cadenza mapping population developed in WGIN 1 and with further developments planned in WGIN 2 will be characterised in detail for both the NUE and take-all inoculum build up traits.