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Improving drought tolerance in wheat for Asia

Target countries: China, India

Lead institutes: Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Indian Agricultural Research Institute

This project aims to assemble and integrate into breeding programmes genetic diversity for water-use efficiency (WUE) and heat tolerance from key sets of genetic resources. These materials will be shared with all partners for the analysis of trait and QTL-by-environment interaction to assess the genetic gains associated with each trait in each country's target environment.  QTLs will be combined in national breeding programmes using marker-assisted recurrent selection (MARS) and backcrossing. In the medium term, this project will develop wheat germplasm adapted to Chinese and Indian environments, and with greatly enhanced water-use efficiency and heat tolerance.

Both the Chinese and Indian components were officially launched in February 2010. However, the Indian component has not yet officially started due to administrative issues.

Achievements in 2010

  • The Chinese component of this project started in 2010, and the project is therefore still in its early stages.
  • A launch meeting  took place in Beijing, China, on February 25–26. This meeting gave us the opportunity to get all partners together and to ensure that the project’s goals and activities are well understood and agreed to by all.
  • An international core set of wheat genotypes was tested at six field locations in China for phenotypic evaluation, and to identify parents for new population development.
  • A number of drought-related and heat-related QTLs were identified and characterised under local field conditions.