, Volume 157, Issue 3, pp 299–306 | Cite as

Application of new knowledge, technologies, and strategies to wheat improvement



There have been many changes impacting wheat improvement since the 1996 International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center Wheat Yield Symposium. This review highlights a few of the technological advances and impacts of new knowledge on wheat improvement that have occurred in the past 10 years as well as on-going challenges. One of the most dramatic discoveries has been the revelation that the genomes of graminaceous crops are complex, rapidly evolving, and heterogeneous, even within species. The use of marker-assisted selection for improving complex traits is one of the challenges facing wheat breeders. Integration of association analysis into conventional breeding programs is proposed as a crop improvement strategy that has the potential to improve the efficiency of molecular breeding.


Wheat genetic diversity Wheat breeding strategies Association mapping Marker assisted selection 



Coordinated Agricultural Project




International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center


Initiative for the Future of Agriculture and Food Systems


Linkage disequilibrium


Marker-assisted selection


Quantitative trait loci


United States Department of Agriculture


Simple sequence repeat



The author gratefully acknowledges the invitation to present this information at the CIMMYT symposium “Challenges to International Wheat Improvement. This research was supported in part by the funds from the US Department of Agriculture, Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, Coordinated Agricultural Project grant number 2006-55606-16629 and by Hatch Project 149419.


  1. Almanza-Pinźon MI, Khairallah M, Fox PN, Warburton ML (2003) Comparison of molecular markers and coefficients of parentage for the analysis of genetic diversity among spring bread wheat accessions. Euphytica 130:77–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Axtel MJ, Bartel DP (2005) Antiquity of microRNAs and their target in land plants. Plant Cell 17:1658–1673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Breseghello F, Sorrells ME (2006a) Association mapping of kernel size and milling quality in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars. Genetics 172:1165–1177PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Breseghello F, Sorrells ME (2006b) Association analysis as a strategy for improvement of quantitative traits in plants. Crop Sci 46:1323–1330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brunner WS, Fengler K, Morgante M, Tingey S, Rafalski A (2005) Evolution of DNA sequence nonhomologies among maize inbreds. Plant Cell 17:343–360PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Caldwell KS, Russell J, Langridge P, Powell W (2006) Extreme population-dependent linkage disequilibrium detected in an inbreeding plant species, Hordeum vulgare. Genetics 172:557–567PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dubcovsky J (2004) Marker-assisted selection in public breeding programs: the wheat experience. Crop Sci 44:1893–1919CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Feltus FA, Singh HP, Lohithaswa HC, Schulze SR, Silva TD, Paterson AH (2006) A Comparative Genomics Strategy for Targeted Discovery of Single-Nucleotide Polymorhpisms and Conserved-Noncoding Sequences in Orphan Crops. Plant Physiol 140:1183–1191Google Scholar
  9. Feng Q et al (2002) Sequence analysis of rice chromosome 4. Nature 420:316–320Google Scholar
  10. Flint-Garcia SA, Thornsberry JM, Buckler IV ES (2003) Structure of disequilibrium in plants. Ann Rev Plant Biol 54:357–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fu H, Dooner HK (2002) Intraspecific violation of genetic colinearity and its implications in maize. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 99:9573–9578Google Scholar
  12. Gaut BS (2002) Evolutionary dynamics of grass genomes. New Phytol 154:15–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gustafson VD, Baenziger PS, Wright MS, Stroup WW, Yen Y (1995) Isolated wheat microspore culture. Plant Cell Tissue Organ Cult 42:207–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jannink JL (2005) Selective phenotyping to accurately map quantitative trait loci. Crop Sci 45:901–908CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. La Rota M, Sorrells ME (2004) Comparative DNA sequence analysis of mapped wheat ESTs reveals complexity of genome relationships between rice and wheat. Funct Integr Genomics 4:34–46PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lazar MD, Schaeffer GW, Baenziger PS (1990) The effects of interactions of culture environment with genotype on wheat (Triticum aestivum) anther culture response. Plant Cell Rep 8:525–529CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ma H, Busch RH, Riera-Lizarazu O, Rines HW, Dill-Macky R (1999) Agronomic performance of lines derived from anther culture, maize pollination and single-seed descent in a spring wheat cross. Theor Appl Genet 99:432–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Maccaferri M, Sanguineti MC, Noli E, Tuberosa R (2005) Population structure and long-range linkage disequilibrium in a durum wheat elite collection. Mol Breed 15:271–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Manifesto MM, Schlatter AR, Hopp HE, Suárez EY, Dubcovsky J (2001) Quantitative evaluation of genetic diversity in wheat germplasm using molecular markers. Crop Sci 41:682–690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Michelmore RW, Paran I, Kesseli RV (1991) Identification of markers linked to disease-resistance genes by bulked segregant analysis: a rapid method to detect markers in specific genomic regions by using segregating populations. Proc Natl Acad Sci 88:9828–9832PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Morgante M, Brunner S, Pea G, Fengler K, Zuccolo A, Rafalski A (2005) Gene duplication and exon shuffling by helitron-like transposons generate intraspecies diversity in maize. Nat Genet 37:997–1002PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Peng J, Richards DE, Hartley NM, Murphy GP, Devos KM, Flintham JE, Beales J, Fish LJ, Worland AJ, Pelica F et al (1999) Green revolution’ genes encode mutant gibberellin response modulators. Nature 400:256–261PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Reynolds MP, Rajaram S, McNab A (eds) (1996) Increasing yield potential in wheat: breaking the barriers. CIMMYT, Mexico, DFGoogle Scholar
  24. Sasaki T, Matsumoto T, Yamamoto K, Sakata K, Baba T, Katayose Y et al (2002) The genome sequence and structure of rice chromosome 1. Nature 420:312–316PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Scofield SR, Huang L, Brandt AS, Gill BS (2005) Development of a virus-induced gene-silencing system for hexaploid wheat and its use in functional analysis of the Lr21-mediated leaf rust resistance pathway. Plant Physiol 138:2165–2173PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Somers DJ, Isaac P, Edwards K (2004) A high-density microsatellite consensus map for bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Theor Appl Genet 109(6):1105–1114PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sorrells ME, Rota ML, Bermudez-Kandianis CE, Greene RA, Kantety R, Munkvold JD, Miftahudin M, Mahmoud A, Ma X, Gustafson PJ et al (2003) Comparative DNA sequence analysis of wheat and rice genomes. Genet Res 13:1818–1827Google Scholar
  28. Thornsberry JM, Goodman MM, Doebley J, Kresovich S, Nielsen D, Buckler IV ES (2001) Dwarf8 polymorphisms associate with variation in flowering time. Nat Genet 28:286–289PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Trethowan RM, van Ginkel M, Ammar K, Crossa J, Payne TS, Cukadar B, Rajaram S, Hernandez E (2003) Associations among twenty years of international bread wheat yield evaluation environments. Crop Sci 43:1698–1711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Verma V, Bains NS, Mangat GS, Nanda GS, Gosal SS, Singh K (1999) Maize genotypes show striking differences for induction and regeneration of haploid wheat embryos in the wheat maize system. Crop Sci 39:1722–1727CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Warburton ML, Skovmand B, Mujeeb-Kazi A (2002) The molecular genetic characterization of the ‘Bobwhite’ bread wheat family using AFLPs and the effect of the T1BL.1RS translocation. Theor Appl Genet 104:868–873PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Yan L, Loukoianov A, Tranquilli G, Helguera M, Fahima T, Dubcovsky J (2003) Positional cloning of the wheat vernalization gene VRN1. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100:6263–6268PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yu J, Wang J, Lin W, Li S, Li H, Zhou J, Ni P, Dong W, Hu S, Zeng C et al (2005) The genomes of Oryza sativa: a history of duplications. Public Libr Sci Biol 3:1–16Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Breeding and GeneticsCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations