Innovation Lab

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Applied Wheat Genomics is part of the U.S. government's Feed the Future initiative to reduce global hunger and improve food security. The initiative uses research, education and outreach to advance solutions to hunger, poverty, and undernutrition in low-income countries. 

THE PROBLEM

Wheat is one of the most important staple crops worldwide and the principle source of nutrients and income for some of the world’s poorest countries. While the demand for wheat in developing countries is projected to increase by 60% by 2050, rising temperatures induced by climate change are expected to dramatically reduce production, leading to food insecurity and creating conditions for widespread social unrest.

TARGET COUNTRIES

South Asia produces 20% of the world's wheat crop. Increased demand for food, coupled with unfavorable growing conditions due to climate change, poses a threat to food security in this region.

 

 

HOW WE COME INTO PLAY

  • The lab is generating wheat varieties with enhanced climate resilience, combining heat tolerance with heat avoidance (earliness), and maximized yield potential for increased food security and income.
  • In addition, creating an extensive public resource of genotypic and phenotypic data on elite candidate wheat varieties.
 

THE SOLUTION

This project signifies a new era of “big science” for international wheat improvement. Together with NARS partners, Kansas State University, CIMMYT, and Cornell University will generate the largest public resource of elite candidate wheat varieties with well characterized phenotype and genotype information, along with seed and DNA in wheat history. This resource will inform the next stage in determining the optimized configuration of wheat breeding systems to support future generations. Furthermore, the wheat varieties generated by this project will have enhanced climate resilience; combining heat tolerance with heat avoidance (earliness), and maximized yield potential.