Heat Tolerance

Background and strategy

A, Wheat spike showing heat-induced floret sterility
B, Iodine-stained viable pollen from a tolerant wheat variety
C, inviable pollen from an intolerant variety

Short heat waves (> 30 oC) during the reproductive stage of wheat crops reduce grain yield and end-use quality of grain, and the problem will only get worse with climate change. Heat tolerance is a difficult trait for breeders to select for directly, due to the unpredictable nature of natural heat events and occurrence of narrow windows of heat-susceptibility in plant development, such as specific pollen developmental stages.

Hence, a major goal of our research is to develop DNA markers that can be used for heat tolerance breeding in place of direct selection. Our strategy is to identify these markers in environments where the heat stress can be controlled (e.g. a growth chamber), followed up by validation of their associated effects under regular field production conditions. We are also interested in uncovering the underlying genes and physiological mechanisms determining heat tolerance in wheat – new information that can give rise to more efficient markers and strategies to aid heat tolerance breeding. We currently apply a broad range of strategies and tools across our various projects to address the aforementioned objectives.

Leader and contact

Dr Nick Collins

Current group members

Million Erena (PhD candidate)

Mizanur Rahman (PhD candidate)

Abdul Aziz (PhD trainee from Quaid-i-Azam University)

Iman Lohraseb (technician)

Students completed

Dr Hamid Shirdelmoghanloo (awarded Dean’s recommendation for PhD thesis excellence)

ACPFG collaborators

Dr Delphine Fleury

Dr Ute Baumann

Dr Stephan Haefele

Dr Penny Tricker

Assoc. Professor Sigrid Heuer

Main Collaborators

NSW-DPI at Wagga Wagga and Tamworth

SAGI and the University of Adelaide

Directorate of Wheat Research Karnal

Punjab Agricultural University

Biogemma, Clermont-Ferrand, France


Funded projects

UA00147 (2015-2018). GRDC. Collins N, Emebiri L, Sissons M, Taylor J, Munoz-Santa S, Pleming D. Genetic analysis of heat tolerance in wheat.

AISRF33760 (2015-2016). Fleury D, Haefele S, Baumann U, Collins N, Singh K, Kaur S, Sharma Pradeep, Sharma Priti, Tiwari R, Sheoran S, Yadav I. Australia-India Strategic Research Fund. Mining alleles for heat tolerance of wheat in Australian and Indian environments for development of heat resilient cultivars.

LP140100557 (2015-2017). ARC-Linkage. Baumann U, Collins N, Haefele S, Praud S. Exploring genetic diversity to identify new heat tolerance genes in wheat.

IH130200027 (2015-2019). ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub. Heuer S, Appelbee M-J, Baumann U, Borisjuk N, Collins N, Fleury D, Haefele S, Juttner J, Kaiser B, Kuchel H, Landridge P, Miklavcic S, Mullan D, Okamoto M. Genetic diversity and molecular breeding for wheat in a hot and dry climate


Site by Arris Pty Ltd