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Last update: May 2021

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Webinar: The intersection of genomics and wheat breeding for developing superior cultivars and hybrids

The intersection of genomics and wheat breeding for developing superior cultivars and hybrids
On 27 May April 2021, the IWGSC organized a webinar entitled "The intersection of genomics and wheat breeding for developing superior cultivars and hybrids" presented by Stephen Baenziger (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, USA)


The expanding tools of genomics have great potential to assist plant breeders in creating new cultivars and hybrids. The goal of this talk is to explain how one breeding team is using these tools to modify their program especially in areas where our conventional breeding efforts are most vulnerable to variable weather and environmental conditions.

Two examples will be highlighted. The first is the pureline breeding program with its emphasis on maintaining diversity, combining key genes/traits, and selecting/advancing lines where often it is “one and done” meaning a line is evaluated in one year and then the line is advanced or dropped. In a ‘one and done’ scenario, there is little room for error or unrepresentative evaluation seasons. Hence ways of bridging information to other seasons and related lines are critical.

The second example will be how genomics is laying the new foundations for hybrid wheat. For instance, as the number of parental lines for hybrid evaluation increases the number of single-cross hybrids that need to be made and tested increases exponentially. For example, 150 parent lines can make 150!/(2!x148!) =11175 hybrids which are too many to create and test effectively. Specifically, we will present an example of using genomic predictions to identify elite hybrids using genomics and a crossing/subsampling/testing approach. The ultimate objective is to develop hybrid wheat from a self-pollinated crop.


P. Stephen Baenziger, Professor and Nebraska Wheat Growers Presidential Chair, emeritus. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, USA.


Katherine Frels, Vikas Belamkar, Ibrahim Elbasyoni, Nicholas Garst, Amir Ibrahim, Yusheng Zhao, Jochen Reif



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