Scientists announce development of wheat strain that produces 30% greater yields

May 14, 2013 by Bob Yirka weblog
Credit: Wikipedia.

(Phys.org) —Researchers in Britain have announced the development of a new strain of wheat that early reports suggest produce 30 percent greater yields than those currently in use.

Developed by the Cambridge-based National Institute of Agricultural Botany, the new strain came about as researchers mixed "ancient" seeds (from seed banks) with those from the modern era. Importantly, the process did not involve as such grains have been banned in many countries. Instead, the researchers cross-bred samples and used techniques to bring about a wholly new strain of wheat. Its developers say that thus far, they've seen yield increase of up to 30 percent. They add that the new strain is hardier as well—able to stand up to pests and drought better than conventional .

The news comes as welcome relief to people in Britain as has led to less than normal, giving way to its importation for the first time in over a decade. More importantly, an increased wheat yield has become crucial as the continues to grow. Recent estimates suggest that as many as a fifth of all calories consumed by people worldwide, come from wheat. In contrast, scientists have noted that the last 15 years have seen little increase in wheat yields. Some scientists have suggested that wheat yields will have to double over the next half-century to keep ahead of population growth. Put another way, the researchers claim that the world will have to produce more wheat over the next 50 years than has been produced over the past 10,000 years in order to keep ahead of demand.

Wheat evolved from goat grasses co-incidentally or not, around the same time as people were beginning to learn to grow their own food, the research team notes, most likely in the Middle East. Since that time, humans have reduced the varieties of wheat that are grown, resulting in an erosion of the plant's . Cross breeding modern strains with much older samples that have been preserved in seed banks will bring back some of that diversity, and in this case, hopefully lead to increased yields.

Unfortunately because of governmental regulations, the new wheat strain can't be grown commercially in Britain for five years. That time interval will give scientists and others time to more thoroughly investigate the new strain to ascertain if the initial findings hold.

Explore further: Study on pesticides in lab rat feed causes a stir

More information: via BBC

Related Stories

Working toward drought-tolerant wheat

Apr 16, 2013

South Dakota State University scientists must develop varieties of wheat that can tolerate drought, according to molecular biologist Jai Rohila, assistant professor of biology and microbiology. That is the ...

'Sweet wheat' for tastier and more healthful baking

May 25, 2011

"Sweet wheat" has the potential for joining that summertime delight among vegetables — sweet corn — as a tasty and healthful part of the diet, the scientific team that developed this mutant form of wheat concludes ...

New wheat varieties resist global wheat threat

Feb 21, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Innovative techniques in wheat breeding are necessary to meet the needs of the world's growing population and overcome environmental challenges, said Ravi Singh at the American Association for the Advancement ...

Recommended for you

Study on pesticides in lab rat feed causes a stir

17 hours ago

French scientists published evidence Thursday of pesticide contamination of lab rat feed which they said discredited historic toxicity studies, though commentators questioned the analysis.

International consortium to study plant fertility evolution

21 hours ago

Mark Johnson, associate professor of biology, has joined a consortium of seven other researchers in four European countries to develop the fullest understanding yet of how fertilization evolved in flowering plants. The research, ...

Making the biofuels process safer for microbes

22 hours ago

A team of investigators at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University have created a process for making the work environment less toxic—literally—for the organisms that do the heavy ...

Why GM food is so hard to sell to a wary public

23 hours ago

Whether commanding the attention of rock star Neil Young or apparently being supported by the former head of Greenpeace, genetically modified food is almost always in the news – and often in a negative ...

The hidden treasure in RNA-seq

Jul 01, 2015

Michael Stadler and his team at the Friedrich Miescher institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) have developed a novel computational approach to analyze RNA-seq data. By comparing intronic and exonic RNA reads, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.