A new, open access, wheat pedigree resource for plant breeders has been launched by NIAB, detailing more than 100 years of UK wheat - the NIAB UK wheat varieties pedigree.
It means wheat breeders and researchers can trace the heritage of the majority of modern wheat varieties in one place, as well as find out which genes breeders have been selecting for in recent decades.
It is expected that plant breeders will use the resource to decide on suitable crosses and manage genetic diversity in their breeding programmes. Researchers will be able to track where newly identified genes, such as for disease resistance, have been inherited from. And growers and agronomists could use the resource in their variety choice decision-making - avoiding choosing varieties with similar genetic backgrounds.
The image example shows the variety RGT Conversion's pedigree with most new varieties tracing back to heritage types Red Fife & Squareheads!
The original paper, 'A large-scale pedigree resource of wheat reveals evidence for adaptation and selection by breeders', is available online at PLOS Biology, from authors nick.fradgley [at] niab.com (Nick Fradgley), Keith Gardner, James Cockram, James Elderfield, John M Hickey, Phil Howell, Robert Jackson and Ian J Mackay.