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UWA to enhance global wheat yields

The University of Western Australia has been awarded a major grant to improve wheat production, in response to rising global demand for food in a changing and variable climate.

The Australian Government will invest $995,724 for this four year project, with an additional $1,552,081 contributed by global partners.

Researchers Professor Guijun Yan, Professor Jacqueline Batley, and Professor David Edwards from UWA’s School of Agriculture and Environment, School of Biological Sciences, and Institute of Agriculture, will collaborate with WA based crop breeding company InterGrain Pty Ltd, and six global partners including the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), Inner Mongolia Academy of Agricultural and Animal Husbandry Sciences (IMAAAHS), Gansu Academy of Agricultural Sciences (GAAS), Hebei Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences (HAAFS), and Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI).

L-R UWA Researchers Prof Guijun Yan, Prof Jacqueline Batley, Prof Dave Edwards, and Dr Helen Liu

L-R UWA Researchers Prof Guijun Yan, Prof Jacqueline Batley, Prof Dave Edwards, and Dr Helen Liu.

The project will combine the strengths of resources and new technologies from Australia and China, aiming to address the industry’s demand for significantly improved wheat yield.

Professor Guijun Yan said wheat is one of the most important crops in the world, and breeding for higher yield, better quality, and improved adaptation has been a constant aim for wheat improvement.

“The expected outcomes of this project will include improved breeding efficiency, novel breeding lines for generating high-yield cultivars adapted to target environments, and commercialisation of the developed technologies including a fast population development service, and an international DNA chip genotyping service,” Prof Yan said.

“Wheat yield has increased over time as a direct result of breeding new varieties, and there is still substantial room for improvement in this genomics era.

“With improved breeding lines, we will not only meet the priorities of Australian and Chinese wheat breeding programs, but also contribute to the world demand for food security and sustainability through enhanced production.”

The grant is part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda to help Australian research institutions build global links in areas of competitive advantage.

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