Bread wheat provides twenty percent of the world’s daily food intake. At a time of increasing population, yield increases have now started to plateau as a result of a lack of genetic variation in wheat.
One way of generating new, high-yielding varieties of wheat adapted to climate change and reduced need for fertilizers and pesticides is to introduce genetic variation from its wild relatives. King et al. have transferred chromosome segments from the whole genome of Aegilops speltoides (goatgrass). A high level of recombination occurs between the chromosomes of wheat and Ae. speltoides, leading to the generation of large numbers of introgression lines with the potential for exploitation in breeding programmes.
King, J., Grewal, S., Yang, C., Hubbart Edwards, S., Scholefield, D., Ashling, S., … King, I. P. (2017). Introgression of Aegilops speltoides segments in Triticum aestivum and the effect of the gametocidal genes. Annals of Botany, 121(2), 229–240. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcx149