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Designing Future Wheat

DFW LogoFunded by BBSRC, the Designing Future Wheat (DFW) programme brings together eight UK research institutes and universities, including NIAB, to develop the germplasm and techniques required by plant breeders to sustainably face future production challenges. DFW builds on the BBSRC-funded Wheat Improvement Strategic Programme (WISP) and consist of 4 core work packages (WP).

WP1. Increasing efficiency and sustainability

Aim: to develop improved germplasm for yield, biotic and abiotic stress using high throughput field phenotyping for monitoring performance and the genetic dissection of key traits.

NIAB will be utilising germplasm selected from DFW, WISP and other projects to identify lines with traits capable of conferring drought tolerance under field conditions.

Work Package Leader - Malcolm Hawkesford (Rothamsted Research)
Theme Leader - Scott Boden (John Innes Centre)
Alison Bentley (NIAB)
Mikhail Semenov (Rothamsted Research)
Simon Griffiths (John Innes Centre)
Cristobal Uauy (John Innes Centre)
Graham Moore (John Innes Centre)
Richard Whalley (Rothamsted Research)
Matthew Paul (Rothamsted Research)
Ji Zhou (Earlham Institute)

WP2. Adding value and resilience

Aim: to enhance grain quality for human health, combat diet-related diseases and improve the resilience of wheat to biotic stresses.

NIAB is developing germplasm with starch characteristics predicted to improve the processability, nutrition and digestibility of wheat. Grain quality work at NIAB

Work Package Leader - Cristobal Uauy (John Innes Centre)
Work Package Deputy Leads
Peter Shewry (Rothamsted Research)
Kim Hammond-Kosack (Rothamsted Research)
Neil Hall (Earlham Institute)
Alison Lovegrove (Rothamsted Research)
Brittany Hazard (Quadram Institute)
Paul Nicholson (John Innes Centre)
Malcolm Hawkesford (Rothamsted Research)
Diane Saunders (John Innes Centre)
Kostya Kanyuka (Rothamsted Research)
Kay Trafford (NIAB)
Ksenia Krasileva (Sainsbury Laboratory)

WP3. Germplasm development for trait dissection

Aim: to accelerate the discovery and deployment of genes and alleles for breeding gains.

NIAB have been using two inter-specific crossing strategies to enhance the genetic variation available in UK wheat. The first strategy uses synthetic hexaploid wheat (SHW) to introduce variation from the D-genome progenitor Ae. tauschii into elite wheat lines viable for breeding programs. Secondly, direct crosses between hexaploid wheat and a range of diverse tetraploid donors (Hexaploid x Tetraploid Wheat – HxTW) introduces novel variation on the A and B genomes. We will use the UK varieties Paragon (spring) and Robigus (winter) as backcross parents for SHW and HxTW.

For outputs of this project please see Breeders Toolkit.

Work Package Leader - Simon Griffiths (John Innes Centre)
Alison Bentley (NIAB)
Cristobal Uauy (John Innes Centre)
Keith Edwards (University of Bristol)
Malcolm Hawkesford (Rothamsted Research)
Ian King (University of Nottingham)
Julie King (University of Nottingham)

WP4. Data access and analysis

Large-scale genomic, phenotypic and regulatory datasets from other DFW work packages will be annotated, integrated and shared to generate critical reference resources supporting interpretation and driving new avenues of investigation.

Work Package Leader - Rob Davey (Earlham Institute)
Deputy Work Package Leader - Chris Rawlings (Rothamsted Research)
Simon Griffiths (John Innes Centre)
Keywan Hassani-Pak (Rothamsted Research)
Wilfred Haerty (Earlham Institute)
Ji Zhou (Earlham Institute)
Anthony Hall (Earlham Institute)
Ksenia Krasileva (The Sainsbury Laboratory)
Gary Barker (Bristol University)

Dr Alison Bentley (NIAB lead)
Dr Robert Jackson (WP1)
Dr Kay Trafford (WP2)
• Dr Tansy Chia (WP2)
• Marcella Chirico (WP2)
Dr Fiona Leigh (WP3)
• Richard Horsnell (WP3)
• Dr Tally Wright (WP3)