Countries in the Global South with low domestic agricultural productivity, low food security and a requirement to import staples are at risk. The improvement of food staples through breeding provides an excellent route to increase agricultural productivity and food/nutrition security, especially in systems where the use of chemical inputs such as fertilizers or pesticides is limited by affordability and access. However, traditional breeding methods are slow in the context of current global crises and often incremental, delivering too little advantage to the farmer to encourage adoption.
This project aims to address the above challenge by accelerating the breeding process and delivering higher genetic gain by adopting new breeding approaches (genome editing), exploiting novel genetic variation and developing data-driven approaches. The project integrates CGIAR and NARES breeding efforts, strengthening NARES capacity to utilize these new breeding strategies.
The purpose of this project is to deliver genetically improved, farmer-preferred varieties. This project aims to accelerate the breeding process and deliver higher genetic gain by adopting new breeding approaches (genome editing), exploiting novel genetic variation and developing data-driven approaches to breeding. This project will address the following research questions:
- Can genome editing of susceptibility factors provide a durable source of wheat rust resistance and accelerate integration of desirable traits into farmer-preferred varieties?
- Can genome editing significantly increase iron levels in wheat flour and improve iron intake of vulnerable groups in society (women and children)?
- Can whole genome sequence data be effectively used to accelerate trait discovery and deployment in crop breeding programmes?
UK Science and CGIAR
UK scientific institutions
John Innes Centre
Norwich Institute of Sustainable Development
Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO)
Agricultural Research Centre (ARC), Egypt
Qauid-I-Azam University (QAU), Pakistan
Where the research teams will work
The project will implement activities in Kenya, Egypt, and Pakistan through NARES partners.