Global collaboration is unlocking wheat’s genetic potential

In a paper published Nov. 25 in Nature, Kansas State University researchers, in collaboration with the international 10+ Genome Project announced the complete genome sequencing of 15 wheat varieties representing breeding programs around the world


UAV measurements

Poland and Crain receive 2020 Plant Genome Outstanding Paper Award

Plant Pathology associate professor, Jesse Poland and postdoctoral fellow Jared Crain received the inaugural 2020 Plant Genome Outstanding Paper Award for their publication “Combining high-throughput phenotyping and genomic information to increase prediction and selection accuracy in wheat breeding.” The journal selects one paper per year based on the work’s advancement of knowledge in the profession, effectiveness of […]


Mining wheat’s wild side for global food security

MANHATTAN — A Kansas State University wheat geneticist is receiving nearly $1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, for two projects to improve the genetic diversity of wheat. Modern wheat is historically a genetically narrow species. Centuries of focused breeding to […]


Wheat Field in Ludhiana, India, BISA

Genomics will improve wheat yield and resilience

Capstone publication of the first five years of collaboration through our USAID Feed the Future project. These results will speed up global efforts to breed more productive & climate-resilient varieties of bread wheat.


USAID Extends Innovation and Research Partnerships

USAID Extends Innovation and Research Partnerships

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced today the extension of two research partnerships, totaling $17 million, with Kansas State University that are helping to combat global hunger.


Researchers taking mobile applications to the field to improve food security and economic welfare

Global populations are booming, food demand is skyrocketing and climate change is threatening food security — meanwhile, access to mobile technology is becoming commonplace. The ground is fertile to harness the power of this global mobile network to create and implement tools to accelerate the development of food crops that can withstand the coming challenges of the 21st century.


Drafting Drones to Help Farmers

Many heads turned when drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, started hovering over the expansive farmlands of Kansas. It was not a military exercise. Researchers at Kansas State University are using drones for a very different purpose — to develop a climate-resilient wheat variety that can combat rising heat and drought.


Wheat Sequencing Consortium Releases Key Resource to the Scientific Community

Following the January 2016 announcement of the production of a whole genome assembly for bread wheat, the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC), having completed quality control, is now making this breakthrough resource available for researchers via the IWGSC wheat sequence repository at URGI-INRA-Versailles, France.


Wheat takes a walk on the wild side

Tucked quietly away in the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center is a treasure trove of genetics from around the globe. The Wheat Genetics Resource Center (WGRC) is an internationally-recognized gene bank that curates and houses more than 247,500 seeds from 2,500 wheat and wild wheat species accessions. While maintaining the collection in a climate and humidity controlled environment is an important cornerstone of the WGRC, it is not the only function of the organization.


Friday March 24, 2016 Field Phenomics Seminar

Scott Chapman, senior principal research scientist, CSIRO Agriculture, University of Queensland, Australia, will present “Field Phenomics in Breeding” from 3:45-4:45 p.m. March 24 in 4031 Throckmorton Hall. 


Sequencing the wheat genome to help feed the world

Jesse Poland, Kansas State University assistant professor and assistant director of the Wheat Genetics Resource Center, in collaboration with the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, has announced the production of an improved whole genome assembly of bread wheat, the most widely grown cereal in the world.


Remotely Capturing Wheat’s Potential

It’s invisible to the human eye, but measured in microseconds, and helping shape the future of Kansas wheat varieties. Sounds like science fiction, but research funded by the Kansas Wheat Alliance is using near-infrared light measurements to dramatically speed up the process of selecting higher yielding, more heat and drought tolerant wheat lines.


Innovation Lab welcomes K-State’s fifth scholar in Monsanto’s Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program

Plant pathology graduate student Emily Delorean is the fifth K-State student to receive Monsanto’s prestigious Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program fellowship. Delorean was inspired at a young age to help others. This lead her into the field of plant breeding, where she hopes to contribute to developing improved crop varieties and change the lives of subsistence […]


New Technologies Quicken Development of Climate-Resilient Wheat in South Asia

Crippling climate changes, coupled with a growing population, threaten food security, economic welfare and social harmony in South Asia—a region heavily dependent on wheat for its nutrition and income. But in the race to fight hunger, the development of new wheat varieties that can withstand harsh growing conditions is severely hindered by traditionally laborious and time-consuming breeding processes. The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Applied Wheat Genomics(opens in new window), led by Kansas State University, works with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the Borlaug Institute for South Asia to address this issue. It is creating new solutions and technologies to get high-yielding, climate-resilient wheat varieties into the hands of farmers in India and Pakistan years sooner.


BISA Promotes Wheat Phenotyping Technologies

The Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) is taking advantage of new technological advances in phenotyping that have the potential to increase wheat yields, measure field data more efficiently and save farmers time and labor. Phenotyping involves measuring the observable traits of crops, a process that can be long and tedious for wheat breeders who walk through fields collecting data on individual plants. Uttam Kumar, associate scientist with CIMMYT’s Global Wheat Program, is testing several phenotyping innovations in collaboration with Jesse Polland, assistant breeder, and Daljit Singh, Ph.D. student, both from Kansas State University (KSU), in an effort to adapt new technologies to the specific needs of breeders in South Asia and make phenotyping wheat faster and more efficient.


From the DNA to the field

What if there was a Netflix for wheat breeders? But, instead of suggesting movies, the algorithm “suggested” the best potential wheat varieties – generations before being planted in a test plot?


Putting up resistance

Beneath a steely and frigid Minnesota sky, the warm orange glow of a greenhouse beckons me to enter. But getting inside requires special security clearance and the donning of a white Tyvek gown, and visitors must shower upon leaving. Scrambling up a snowdrift outside the glass building affords me a less encumbered peek at what’s inside: row upon row of wheat plants, riddled with a fungal pathogen that has destroyed countless hectares of the crop in Africa and, more recently, the Middle East.


Wild Relatives

Plants closely related to crop species, such as wild maize in Mexico and wild rice in West Africa, often happily grow in and around the disturbed soils of agricultural fields, passing their genes along to these crops with the help of wind and insects. Some traditional farmers even encourage such “weeds” because they recognize that their presence has a positive effect on their crops.


Why invest in wheat research?

Wheat is the most important food crop worldwide and a principal source of nutrients in some of the poorest countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. But wheat, like all living organisms, is unimaginably complex.

CIMMYT scientist Matthew Reynolds believes that for this reason we need a whole consortium of scientists to improve its yield. This video highlights work that has already been done to increase the productivity of wheat through research in spike photosynthesis, roots and breeding. Because when it comes down to it, crop yields cannot be improved overnight, certainly not sustainably. It takes time and investment, and by planning ahead we are actually trying to preempt a disaster, with research and with partnership.


Seeds of Hope

Wheat is a very important crop around the world, but just like other organisms, it is susceptible to a variety of diseases. This video delves into the world of plant breeders and plant pathologists. It takes a look at some of the biotic constraints on our wheat crops, and how plant breeding can alleviate their damage to this vital commodity.


A New Approach to Molecular Plant Breeding

An ARS scientist in Ithaca, New York, is using a new statistical approach to help speed the development of improved varieties of crops.

Plant breeders constantly strive to breed new varieties that yield more, resist emerging pests and pathogens, tolerate heat and drought, and grow in marginal soils and environments. Increasingly, molecular tools are used to speed those efforts. By identifying genes associated with desirable traits, scientists don’t have to wait for time-consuming field observations.


A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself

The dun wheat field spreading out at Ravi P. Singh’s feet offered a possible clue to human destiny. Baked by a desert sun and deliberately starved of water, the plants were parched and nearly dead.
Dr. Singh, a wheat breeder, grabbed seed heads that should have been plump with the staff of life. His practiced fingers found empty husks.