Wheat Improvement from Synthetic Hexaploids (WISH)

Lead Research Organisation: National Inst of Agricultural Botany
Department Name: Centre for Research

Abstract

NIAB ran a BBSRC-funded pre-breeding project, with three breeding companies, which made >5600 new wheat lines by crossing Synthetic Hexaploid Wheats (SHWs) with UK varieties. SHWs can contain useful variation from wild relatives lost during the domestication of wheat. Many of our SHW-derivatives have out-performed their adapted parent in yield trials. In other tests, lines have retained good yields even under reduced nitrogen inputs. However, more testing is required to identify any lines which may have genuine commercial potential.
This project (WISH) will provide two further years of yield trials (including low input tests), together with quality, purity, pathology, genetic and agronomy screening. The most promising lines will enter National List trials in September 2014, and a novel royalty share scheme will reward all partners for any eventual commercial success. WISH is a new model for turning promising public sector research leads into actual varieties grown by UK farmers.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Wheat re-synthesis animation 
Description Local animator approached NIAB asking to make an animation to explain NIAB's work on re-synthesis and pre-breeding 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2013 
Impact Very favourable feedback from those who have seen it 
URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7bN2C1Pjs0
 
Description Bread wheat arose from a rare prehistoric hybridization between a wild grass and primitive wheat grown by early farmers. This introduced many important genes into the modern wheat crop which today provides 20% of the world's food calories. Our innovation is to repeat this hybridization to introduce genetic diversity from the wild, then recombine these re-synthesized genomes with UK varieties. Thousands of pre-breeding lines are tested in the field and the best delivered to industry. This unexplored diversity, and its integration into elite backgrounds is unique, with initial tests indicating it represents a step change in UK wheat yield potential.
Exploitation Route Our unique pre-breeding approach systematically incorporates genetic diversity from re-synthesized wheat into elite backgrounds. It engages UK breeding companies as the gateway to economic impact and thus provides a paradigm for translation fom the public sector to industry. Early trials of lines incorporating novel diversity recorded yields 30-40% higher than controls; in subsequent multi-location replicated trials during 2013-14 more modest yield improvements of 10-15% were observed. Even a 15% yield improvement above current varieties could translate to an additional income of £416 million/year for UK farmers and around ten-fold that amount for downstream end-users. A change of this magnitude in production of the UK's major staple food source would have a significant social impact.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment

 
Description Our unique pre-breeding approach systematically incorporates genetic diversity from re-synthesized wheat into elite backgrounds. It engages UK breeding companies as the gateway to economic impact and thus provides a paradigm for translation fom the public sector to industry. Early trials of lines incorporating novel diversity have recorded yields 30-40% higher than controls. Even a 15% yield improvement above current varieties would translate to an additional income of £416 million/year for UK farmers and around ten-fold that amount for downstream end-users. A change of this magnitude in production of the UK's major staple food source would have a significant social impact
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Dr Phil Howell 17/01/2015 All Party Parliamentary Group on Science & Technology in Agriculture; Invited talk on wheat genetics and breeding including prebreeding and resynthesis
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Super Follow on Fund
Amount £262,283 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/K020269/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 09/2013 
End 09/2015
 
Description AAB Conference presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Research presentation on NIAB cereal pre-breeding
Discussion afterwards including new engagement with Harper Adams research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Advisory Committee on Animal Feedingstuffs 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Invited talk to ACAF open meeting at Food Standards Authority, and participation in subsequent discussion

ACAF Secretariat exchanged contact details in case of further developments
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://acaf.food.gov.uk/acafmeets/acaf2014mtgs/acafmeet260214/min1401
 
Description Agritech Careers Fair 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact PH presented on NIAB's plant science research to an audience consisting mainly of post-graduates and early-stage researchers working on plant science / crop science within Cambridge University
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description BBSRC Innovator of the Year 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Finalist in 2014 IOTY competition
Shortlisted for the Social Innovator of the Year category for wheat re-synthesis and pre-breeding.
Iconic object to encapsulate the research - this was a set of ears from the different plants used on the way to developing our pre-breeding lines, set into a clear perspex block

increased media interest including coverage on BBC Radio 4 Farming Today and Easter Daily Press
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/people-skills-training/2014/140321-n-luke-alphey-wins-fostering-innovati...
 
Description Cereals 2013 event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Arable farming event attended by approx 20,000 visitors Display plots and information boards explaining wheat resynthesis, the importance of genetic diversity, and pre-breeding

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Cereals 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Prof Andy Greenland/Dr Phil Howell/Toby Barber/Dr Fiona Leigh (11-12 Jun 2015) field demonstration of lola/WISP material at the Cereals Event 2015, Lincolnshire
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Crop Production Magazine 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Several page article in June edition of CPM, exploring wheat resynthesis and pre-breeding Cover photo and story featured on pages 34-39 of magazine

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Demonstration plots at Cereals 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Many discussions with interested parties: farmers, breeders, agronomists etc

Discussions triggered many follow-up visits from breeders in subsequent weeks to look at NIAB field experiments for themselves
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Discussion with agronomists from Prime Agriculture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation focusing on NIAB crop pre-breeding, with frequent interruptions to discuss points as they arose. Aim was to bring independent agronomists up to speed with developments in NIAB's crop science. Lively discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Dr Phil Howell (22/05/2015) Field demonstration at NIAB to Nuffield Arable Scholars of wheat resynthesis, wide crossing and pre-breeding  
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Dr Phil Howell (22/05/2015) Field demonstration at NIAB to Nuffield Arable Scholars of wheat resynthesis, wide crossing and pre-breeding
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Dr Phil Howell (April 29-May1st 2015), Monogram, Rothamsted. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Dr Phil Howell (April 29-May1st 2015), Monogram, Rothamsted. Talk; The systematic development and interrogation of novel pre-breeding germplasm. Phil Howell, Toby Barber, Alison Bentley, Richard Horsnell, Fiona Leigh, Gemma Rose, Tally Wright and Andy Greenland
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Dr Phil Howell 11/03/2015 Nottingham MSc and PhD NIAB Talk: Wheat pre-breeding and resynthesis  
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Dr Phil Howell 11/03/2015 visit to NIAB by Nottingham university MSc and PhD students. presentation; Wheat pre-breeding and resynthesis
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Feature on BBC Countryfile / BBC News 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview with Tom Heap on wheat re-synthesis and pre-breeding for BBC Countryfile programme and short segments for BBC News Footage can be viewed at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22499425

Large impact. This feature and accompanying press release were widely reported in local, national and international media and we received technical enquiries from groups working as far afield as China, India, Canada and the USA. Within the UK it seemed to raise the profile of crop science and plant breeding in general, and the activities of NIAB in particular.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL https://thinkingcountry.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/the-future-of-wheat/
 
Description Lecture to Limagrain global wheat breeding team 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk on wheat re-synthesis and pre-breeding to approx 40 breeding staff

Request for seed distribution to various Limagrain breeding locations
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Lecture to visiting MSc students 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Students from Nottingham University, talk about wheat pre-breeding and resynthesis

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Lecture to visiting undergraduates from University of Cambridge 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Lecture of pre-breeding and wheat re-synthesis to approx 30 second year students

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Lecture to visiting undergraduates from University of Cambridge, Oct 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Talk led to interesting discussions afterwards

Some students expressed an interest in working / researching at NIAB in the future
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description NFU Crop Biotechnology Conversation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited lecture on wheat resynthesis and pre-breeding followed by informal discussions and demonstrations and a formal Q&A

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.nfuonline.com/phil-howell-biotechnology-conversation-nov-2013/
 
Description Press release - wheat resynthesis and pre-breeding 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press release to coincide with BBC Countryfile broadcast This story generated a lot of interest and was taken up by the UK farming and mainstream press, and some international press eg Bloomberg, Huffington Post, Times of India etc Press release can be found at http://www.niab.com/news_and_events/article/282



Leaflet outlining the steps and projects discussed can be downloaded from http://www.niab.com/uploads/files/NIAB_Synthetic_Hexaploid_Wheat.pdf

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.niab.com/uploads/files/NIAB_Synthetic_Hexaploid_Wheat.pdf
 
Description Radio 4 Farming Today 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Radio interview with Anna Hill discussing wheat re-synthesis and pre-breeding

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Radio interview - Naked Scientists 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Radio interview with Ginny Smith discussing wheat re-synthesis and pre-breeding Podcast of interview can be downloaded

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://nakeddiscovery.com/downloads/split_podcasts/13.05.23/Naked_Scientists_Show_13.05.23_1000805.m...
 
Description Sense About Science: Superwheat online Q&A 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Live online Q&A session to answer public questions about wheat breeding and genetics

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.senseaboutscience.org/pages/what-would-your-super-wheat-look-like.html
 
Description Talk to Cambridge University undergraduates 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Talk on NIAB pre-breeding research to second year plant sciences undergraduates

Researcher leading the visit has now become a research collaborator
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Visit by second-year undergraduate students from University of Cambridge 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation made on role of pre-breeding with examples from NIAB's work in cereals
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015