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New website to support wheat research

18 June 2012

A new wheat research information resource was launched today in a bid to help coordinate worldwide research efforts in the fields of wheat genetics, genomics, physiology, breeding and agronomy. The new website provides a central hub for the Wheat Initiative which aims to coordinate wheat research programmes and contribute to food security across the globe.

Wheat is one of the main staple crops in the world and provides 20% of daily protein and calories. It is the second most important food crop in the developing world after rice. In the past decades, wheat production levels did not satisfy demand, triggering price instability and hunger riots. With a world population of 9Bn in 2050, wheat demand is expected to increase by 70%. To meet the demand, annual wheat yield increases must grow from the current level of below 1% to at least 1.7%.

The Wheat Initiative will help to address this by coordinating research to produce improved wheat varieties, disseminate better agronomic practises worldwide, and to help farmers to stably produce more and better wheat in diverse production environments.

Steve Visscher, BBSRC Deputy Chief Executive, said: "There is a world-wide need to increase wheat yield and improve tolerance to stresses, diseases and pests. Coordinated research can also help us to improve the efficiency of farming inputs for more sustainable wheat production. The Wheat Initiative will help to combat this grand challenge by exchanging knowledge, identifying synergies and encouraging collaborations among major wheat research programs. An important element of the Initiative is that it brings together both researchers and the various funding agencies involved in wheat research."

The Wheat Initiative website will foster communication between the research community, funders and global policy makers at the international level to meet their research and development goals. Through online discussions and collaborative workspaces it will provide a forum for the international wheat research community.

The website offers space to find out about the Wheat Initiative, access wheat databases, find researchers for collaboration, participate in discussions and keep up-to-date with the latest publications, news and events.

BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council), INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) and CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre) contribute to the coordination of activities of the Wheat Initiative.

The initiative was proposed by G20 Agricultural Ministers in 2011.

View the website at  www.wheatinitiative.org

ENDS

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tel: 01793 414694