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Wheat Improvement: Creating Chords for the Future from Notes of the Past

Monday, March 3 1:55 PM - 2:35 PM

Wheat variety development in the USA is in the homestretch of a century of organized research, driven by the hybridization of novel and complementary parents followed by stringent selection for progeny with improved agronomic and functional characteristics. The products of wheat breeding in one era become the genetic resources, or germplasm, for further improvement in subsequent eras.

While the overall breeding process has not changed dramatically, the breeding tools and germplasm used to advance the process have become more sophisticated and diverse, with favorable outcomes being increased breeding program efficiency and output. Another noticeable outcome has been an unprecedented level of private sector investment in wheat variety development in only the past five years. Future improvement will continue to depend on expanding our knowledge of inheritance for traits which impact farmers, processors, and consumers.

In a society inundated with non-factual information and fad diets centered on wheat, true fundamentals and scientific principles of wheat improvement will be presented to help the audience intuitively separate the wheat from the chaff.

After this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the general mechanics of the wheat variety development process and distinguish between past and present varieties
  • Separate fact from fiction about the science and impact of wheat breeding at the consumer level
  • Look into the future of wheat with a more realistic perception of technologies that will improve or stabilize yield and functionality traits.

Brett Carver, Oklahoma State University

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