Hybrid wheat

The FAO predicts that major improvements in wheat yields will be critical in ensuring global food security. Developing an efficient hybrid breeding system for wheat is one option for capturing the yield benefits associated with hybrids.

Hybrid vigour, known as heterosis, can lead to higher yielding plants when two inbred plant lines are crossed. Hybrid seeds are commonly used to grow maize and various vegetables.

Developing a hybrid system in wheat will make it easier to increase wheat’s yield potential. Historical estimates of yield improvements associated with heterosis in wheat range anywhere from 0% to over 200%, however in reality this is likely to be between 5% and 15%.

Hybrids have been difficult to develop in wheat because wheat is a self-pollinator. The shape of the flowers (floral architecture) prevents wheat from crossing with other wheat plants. An effective hybrid system will also require a practical method for generating hybrids by producing lines that are male sterile so they cannot self-fertilise.

Aspects of the hybrid wheat program at ACPFG include

  • Modification of floral architecture to enhance outcrossing
  • Development and characterization of male-sterile wheat lines
  • Selection of parental lines and evaluation of yield from hybrid seeds in various environments

This project is a collaboration between ACPFG and Dupont Agricultural Biotechnology.

For more information about this program please contact one of the following researchers

Takashi Okada
Ryan Whitford
Delphine Fleury
Melissa Garcia

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