Maximising yield potential of wheat

Lead Research Organisation: Rothamsted Research
Department Name: Unlisted

Abstract

Yield potential is defined as the final grain yield of a genotype when grown under optimal conditions, in an environment to which it is adapted, free from competition and from biotic and abiotic stresses. Increasing yield potential is a major component of any crop improvement programme and decades of plant breeding have established that such increases in yield potential are also expressed across a wide range of more limiting environments. However, recent data suggests that genetic improvement of yield may be reaching a plateau; in particular, increases from improving harvest index are close to a theoretical maximum, and novel approaches through increasing biomass and manipulating resource use and architecture need to be considered. In this project we will address individual processes that limit biomass and yield potential by accessing existing genetic diversity in these characters and introducing novel diversity through transgenesis and TILLING where appropriate.
The traits to be addressed, partly in association with the other projects, include photosynthetic efficiency, carbon and nitrogen partitioning, canopy and spike architecture, canopy longevity, nutrient assimilation and fertility. The project will exploit bioinformatics approaches and crop modelling to explore the interdependence of different yield components and allow these to be investigated experimentally.
The overall aims are to:

1. To exploit natural and induced variation and biotechnology to increase biomass production by increasing both photosynthesis and nitrogen use efficiency.
2. To enhance yield components by manipulating yield traits under hormonal control.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Photosynthesis; variation in most photosynthetic traits, determined for diversity panels, has been shown to be heritable. Further work is now being undertaken on a mapping population to establish the genetic basis for the variation. Two genes homologous to ERECTA in Arabidopsis were identified on chromosomes 6 (TaER2) and 7 (TaER1) of bread wheat, with copies of each gene on each of the genomes of wheat. The expression of TaER1 and TaER2 was significantly and negatively associated with transpiration rate and carbon isotope determination while significantly and positively correlated with flag leaf area, biomass and yield. Transgenic lines with small decreases in Rubisco have been identified and are being characterised. These lines are predicted to have higher Rubisco activation states, and better nitrogen use efficiency and no yield penalty. Transgenic lines with over- and under-expression of CA1Pase have been produced which are predicted to have higher rates of carboxylation by less inhibited Rubisco under optimal conditions (CA1Pase over-expression), and better resilience to severe stress by inhibitor-protected Rubisco (CA1Pase under-expression).
Nitrogen transport has been investigated for wheat nitrate and amino acid transporters with respect to N-uptake and N-remobilisation during senescence and grain N-accumulation. Influence of elevated CO2 on core genes in relation to nitrogen metabolism including those N-transporter have been investigated in wheat. Transgenic approaches in wheat manipulating expression (RNAi) of key transporters including cellular tissue localisation (GUS) and complementation (Arabidopsis mutant) for functional analysis are in development. Transient assays have confirmed subcellular localisation and yeast complementation substrate specificity for the analysed amino acid transporter. A NAC transcription factor has been identified involved in regulation of wheat senescence. Transgenic wheat lines manipulating specific NAC gene expression with delayed senescence and increasing grain N-concentration are promising for further analysis. Additional uplift projects have examined phosphate and zinc transporters in relation to acquisition efficiency and partitioning to the grain in relation to yield and other key phenotypic (NUE) characters using BBSRC WISP project germplasm.
Phenotyping platforms development included establishment of major fixed site installation in summer 2015, including commissioning and testing on a variety of wheat germplasm with multiple N inputs. Additionally development and utilization of digital elevation modelling for crop height from UAV-based imagery has been refined. A field based phenotyping platform has been developed. We will combine resultant phenotypic data with genomic and RNAseq data to work towards predictive phenotyping
Three novel TILLING alleles of Rht-1 have been extensively back-crossed into cv. Cadenza to reduce mutational load. These lines are being tested for effects on yield parameters in the field, alongside the "Green Revolution" Rht-D1b semi-dwarfing allele introgressed into the same variety and in comparison with TILLING alleles of the gibberellin (GA) biosynthetic gene TaGA20ox1.
Wheat genome sequence data generated within the Wheat Genomics sLOLA, in collaboration with IWGSC, has been used to identify/reassemble most of the genes from the GA biosynthetic pathway of wheat).The map locations of the GA biosynthetic and signalling genes have been established by use of the W7984 whole genome assembly and its associated POPSEQ data. Expression patterns of all genes across development have been determined by exploiting RNA-seq from both IWGSC and our own experiments, identifying candidates for manipulation of specific growth stages.
Exon capture data from the Wheat Genomics sLOLA (generated from EMS-mutagenised lines of Cadenza developed at RRes) was mapped to a custom set of candidate gene sequences from hormone signalling pathways. This identified a wide variety of functional mutations, including complete sets of loss-of-function mutations in all three homoeologues of the CPS, KS, KAO, GA3ox2 and GA20ox3 from the GA pathway. In addition, novel alleles in many genes relevant to other 20:20 Wheat projects and external collaborations have been identified.
Exploitation Route Findings will be taken forward into future projects.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment

 
Description Biotech regulations and wheat productivity' at an EU workshop "Wheat productivity in the EU: determinants and challenges for food security and for climate change
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Global Calculator
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Global Food Security Communications and Public Engagement Group
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Interview by 'Scientific Committee of the French High Council for Biotechnology'
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Research Perspective on innovation and new technologies in agriculture for the green economy
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description presentation to Business, Innovation and Skills, Whitehall
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description AAB Wheat Breeding Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited speaker at conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Cereals 2012 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Maximising Yield Potential in Wheat featured as the central Rothamsted theme at Cereals 2012
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description International Wheat Meeting, Sydney 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact invited speaker at international conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Invited Speaker, "Best of British Wheat" Sutton Bonnington 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact research seminars at Nottingham University, in conjunction with Agrii
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Invited Speaker; The GM debate- a balanced view. IPM: Pushing Back the Frontiers AAB conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The GM debate- a balanced view. IPM: Pushing Back the Frontiers AAB conference - Huw Jones was invited to speak.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Member of International Advisory Board 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Significance of Sulfur in High-Input Cropping Systems Conference, Groningen
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description NABIM 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact invited speaker at NABIM research day
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description NFU-Farmer event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Invited speaker at New Biotechnologies, NFU Event-Farmer Scientist Dialogue on Crop Biotechnologies
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Omex 'Fertilising the Minds' workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact invited speaker
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Phenodays 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact the field phenotyping team presented work on automated field phenotyping at this annual workshop
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Plant Phenotyping Network workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited speakers at the UK Plant Phenotyping Network, Rothamsted
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Plenary lecture at Danish Cereals Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact plenary lecture at major cereals meeting
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Presentation at Significance of Sulfur in High-Input Cropping Systems Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation 'Linking genes to field performance: adventures in sulfur research'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Review of the strategies for the comprehensive food and feed safety and nutritional assessment of GM plants per se 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact review with ADAS, Rothamsted, EFSA
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Sulphyton meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact presentation at annual sulphur workshop, Athens
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description WGIN Stakeholder meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited Speaker at WGIN Stakeholder meeting, industry and research partners of WGIN network
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description host to visitors from Nanjing University 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Rothamsted hosted a delegation of visitors from Nanjing Agricultural University. the were given a presentation on this project and toured field trials and laboratories
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description invited speaker 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Malcolm Hawkesford invited to speak to NFU Farmer-Scientist event, Stoneleigh UK
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description invited speaker to stakeholders 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Martin Parry gave a talk on food security a the Yield Enhancement Network, Stoneleigh UK
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description invition to review/discuss new National Research Canada new wheat programme 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Reviewed and discussed Canadian wheat programme
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description participation in Nitrogen Ideas Lab, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact workshop on improvement of nitrogen uptake and use efficiency in wheat
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description public discussion event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Huw Jones was the invited speaker 'Who is responsible for our food waste? Evening public discussion event with Tim Benton, Charles Darwin House, Organised by the Society of Biology in partnership with the BBSRC and the Global Food Security Programme, 23 Sept 2013
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013