Wheat is a staple of diets across the world. In fact, it is the source of about 20 percent of the calories consumed worldwide. Researchers at Kansas State University are using innovative methods like gene editing to breed wheat with added benefits, including lower gluten options that could one day allow people with gluten sensitivities to enjoy bread and other wheat-based foods.
U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is pleased to share more information about plant breeding innovations in wheat in “Part 3 of the Plant Breeding Innovation” video series from the American Seed Trade Association and CropLife International. Click here to watch this informative presentation: https://bit.ly/2lB7zl3.
While the emphasis here is on innovative research associated with Kansas State University, state wheat commissions that are members of USW work closely with the Land Grant universities in their states to conduct similar public plant breeding programs. Private seed producers are also doing excellent work focused on improving both yield and functional characteristics of wheat.
USW is concerned that wheat production and harvested areas are on a long-term, downward trend around the world. Net returns per acre to farmers often favor other crops, and the differential is widening. An eventual supply and demand situation where smaller supplies of wheat are produced only in areas where more profitable alternatives do not exist will translate into supply challenges for the global food industry.
USW believes that these new technologies as well as on-going, conventional breeding methods benefit farmers, customers, and consumers, and will make positive impacts on the environment and the long-term health of U.S. agricultural land. To make this possible, USW urges the adoption of a nationally and internationally accepted definition of plant breeding innovation that clearly differentiates these methods from traditional biotechnology. The organization also advocates for international harmonization of scientific standards and trade rules.
For more information on USW’s positions on Innovation and Sustainability, visit the USW website at https://www.uswheat.org/policy/innovation-and-sustainability/.
The Genetic Literacy Project recently published this article on the role of plant breeding innovation in global wheat production: https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2019/08/29/crispr-and-other-new-breeding-techniques-could-be-key-to-unlocking-potential-of-global-wheat-production/.