Wheat Breeding and Genetics
Five different classes of wheat are grown in Idaho’s diverse agricultural environment. Wheat generates approximately $350 million per year and over 60% of the wheat in Idaho is grown in the southern part of the state.
Research at the Aberdeen Research and Extension Center focuses on developing an accelerated and internationally recognized wheat breeding and genetics program. Emphasis is placed on the development of spring and winter wheat cultivars with high agronomic adaptability to irrigated agriculture, with biotic and abiotic resistances, and with desirable end-use quality to meet the needs of the foreign and domestic wheat industry.
The research program focuses on applied genetics and genomics that can accelerate variety release under national and international collaborations.
- To develop desired wheat varieties and germplasm using an integrated breeding system combining traditional and mutant breeding methods with doubled haploid production and molecular marker-assisted selection.
- To identify QTL/markers associated with grain yield, desirable end-use quality, resistance to stripe rust, dwarf bunt, snow mold, fusarium head blight and late maturity alpha amylase.
- To identify QTL/markers associated with improved water and nitrogen use efficiency in both wheat and barley materials from the National Small Grain Collection.
- To teach and provide training and supervision for graduate and undergraduate students.
The following varieties have been developed by the U of I wheat breeding program:
Soft White Spring
- U of I Petit
- U of I Cataldo (pdf)
- U of I Stone (pdf)
Hard White Spring
- Idaho 377s
- U of I Platinum (pdf)
Hard Red Spring
- U of I Winchester (pdf)
Hard White Winter
- U of I Darwin
- UICF Grace
- U of I Silver
Hard Red Winter
- U of I SRG (pdf)
Soft White Winter
- UICF Lambert
- UICF Brundage
- Idaho 587
- U of I Sparrow
- Justin Wheeler, Senior Research Technician
- Natalie Klassen, Ag Seed Technician
- Rui Wang, Post Doctoral Fellow
- Flora Esparza, Technical Aide
- Jose Carrillo, Technical Aide
- Jim Prestidge, Technical Aide
- QTL associated with coleoptiles and root traits
- QTL associated with falling number of wheat
Stripe rust has been one of the most destructive diseases for wheat grown under irrigation. In 2005 and 2011, stripe rust caused significant yield loss for growers and quality reduction for the wheat industry.
Dwarf bunt and snow mold are endemic diseases that occur under dryland wheat production. Late maturity alpha amylase is also a severe production problem that is caused by low temperature.
Fusarium head blight is an emerging disease caused by global climate change and increasing corn and no-till practices. This disease is especially threatening for spring wheat in southern Idaho.
The breeder teaches classes through videoconferencing and onsite on classes of Cereal Breeding and Genetics, QTL Mapping of Cereal Crops and graduate seminars. The breeder also mentors undergraduate during summer and visiting graduate students from around the world.