Science in society:

Genetic Research On Wheat (GROW)

GROW is a national project to involve school pupils in wheat research.

School pupils will have the opportunity to engage in authentic scientific research along with professional scientists.

Aim

GROW aims to involve pupils in fully characterising a semi-dwarfing gene that has the potential to enable breeders to develop new drought-tolerant wheat strains, as part of the strategic program to address the global food security challenge and improve wheat crops.

The project will:

The ultimate outcome of the project will be peer reviewed findings published in a scientific journal that will push forward the boundaries of human knowledge.

Project

Pupils at Simon Langton Grammar School will use a range of molecular biology techniques to investigate a cross-bred wheat population grown within a greenhouse on the school site. The pupils will be involved in every step of the discovery process from physically crossing parental wheat strains in the greenhouse to gene mapping workshops in the laboratory. The project will inspire pupils by providing the chance to be involved in research excellence that makes discoveries with a real impact.

Observations on the growth, yield and appearance of the wheat will be conducted at schools throughout the UK and the data collected for analysis. Teachers across the UK will be able to analyse the wheat growth data with their classes and discuss the contribution of wheat research to solving long term food security concerns.

Teachers will also be able to access supporting materials and resources as well as take part in CPD workshops.

Partners

The project is being led by a partnership between the John Innes Centre and Langton Star Centre with support from Limagrain Ltd, a major commercial wheat breeder, the JIC Germplasm Resources Unit and the Teacher Scientist Network, with funding from BBSRC, Limagrain Ltd and Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys.

BBSRC has made significant investment in wheat research and this project will support this investment in the science and demonstrate a commitment to educating young people about wheat research and Global Food Security.

The JIC Germplasm Resources Unit are the most authoritative cereal collections in the UK comprising 9,533 wheat, 10,841 barley and 2,640 oat accessions. The Unit include cultivated material from all wheat growing regions of the world including extensive holdings of landraces and landrace selections.