Genes for climate change adaptation

June 12, 2012 at 6:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ICARDA and its partners have pioneered the use of a new tool – FIGS, or Focused Identification of Germplasm Strategy − for rapid screening of large genebank collections, to identify genotypes with specific traits. Two key traits are heat and drought tolerance. Both are vital today, and will become even more necessary with climate change.

Breeders and genetic resources experts conducted field evaluations of 800 wheat genotypes, earlier identified using FIGS. Four hundred durum wheat genotypes were screened for drought tolerance; and 200 genotypes each of bread and durum wheat for heat tolerance. For each genotype, a range of parameters was measured: early vigor and growth habit, phenology, yield (grain and biomass) and yield components, plant height, and physiological traits such as leaf area index, canopy temperature, leaf rolling and fluorescence, that are associated with heat and drought tolerance. The results will help validate and refine the FIGS methodology. All 400 genotypes in this experiment were predicted to perform well; actual field data will help correlate different parameters and improve the accuracy of future FIGS predictions.

For more information contact Dr Abdallah Bari, genetic resources scientist, email A.Bari@cgiar.org

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