Speed breeding breakthrough for more resilient crops

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In the UK, teams at the John Innes Centre, University of Queensland and University of Sydney developed a speed breeding platform to speed up the search for better performing crops. Using the technique, the team achieved wheat generation from seed to seed in just 8 weeks.

Dr. Brande Wulff of the John Innes Centre, Norwich, a lead author on the paper, explains why speed is of the essence: “Globally, we face a huge challenge in breeding higher yielding and more resilient crops. Being able to cycle through more generations in less time will allow us to more rapidly create and test genetic combinations, looking for the best combinations for different environments.”

The team also proved that the technique can be used for a range of important crops. They have achieved up to 6 generations per year for bread wheat, durum wheat, barley, pea, and chickpea; and four generations for canola.