New website to support wheat research

A website has been launched to support wheat research across the world.

The website provides a central hub for the Wheat Initiative, which aims to coordinate wheat research programmes and contribute to food security across the globe.

Researchers will use the website to publicise information into research efforts in the field of wheat genetics, genomics, breeding and agronomy.

Rothamsted Research scientists and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is inviting anyone in the international wheat research community to join the website.

Steve Visscher, BBSRC deputy chief executive, said: “There is a world-wide need to increase wheat yield and improve tolerance to stresses, diseases and pests.

“Coordinated research can also help us to improve the efficiency of farming inputs for more sustainable wheat production.

“The Wheat Initiative will help to combat this grand challenge by exchanging knowledge, identifying synergies and encouraging collaborations among major wheat research programs.”

The initiative will bring together both researchers and the various funding agencies involved in wheat research.

Wheat is one of the main staple crops in the world and provides 20% of daily protein and calories.

It is the second most important food crop in the developing world after rice.

The world population is forecast to rise to nine billion by 2050 when wheat demand is expected to increase by 70%. To meet the demand, annual wheat yield increases must grow from the current level of below 1% to at least 1.7%.

With this in mind, Rothamsted has launched its 20:20 Wheat programme which aims to increase potential wheat yields in the UK to 20t/ha within the next 20 years.

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