February 22, 2012
Bayer CropScience, Texas A&M University System tie up to advance wheat breeding
Bayer CropScience and Texas AgriLife Research, a part of the Texas A&M University System, College Station, Texas, US, have signed a multi-year agreement to develop and commercialise improved wheat varieties.
Utilising Texas AgriLife Research's extensive collection of wheat cultivars and germplasm and Bayer's expertise in both classical and molecular plant breeding, the collaboration aims to bolster current development efforts and expedite the delivery of higher yielding wheat varieties to market. Financial details of the collaboration were not released.
In particular, researchers and breeders at both institutions will focus on developing wheat lines that offer improved yields, as well as regionally important characteristics such as drought resistance, disease resistance and improved quality.
Texas AgriLife Research is a leading provider of Hard Red Winter Wheat germplasm for the Southern Great Plains region of the US, and its collection will serve as a strong basis for developing these new lines.
Additionally, the collaboration will focus on the development of molecular breeding tools to facilitate the rapid genetic improvement of wheat. Combining both classical and modern breeding techniques is expected to increase the rate of wheat yield improvement and allow wheat to thrive in areas with conditions which are unfavourable currently for wheat production.
"Wheat productivity has not kept pace with the advancement in other crops like corn, but Bayer is determined to see that trend reversed," said Dr. Mathias Kremer, head of the BioScience business unit at Bayer CropScience.
"By working together with the many wheat experts in the Texas A&M University System to harness the tools of modern plant breeding and biotechnology, we are convinced we can help make wheat farmers in Texas and beyond more productive and sustainable by delivering new high-yielding varieties that are more resilient against pests, disease and environmental stresses like drought."
Dr. Craig Nessler, director of Texas AgriLife Research, said the collaboration with Bayer CropScience will give worldwide exposure to the wheat improvement programmes of Texas AgriLife Research and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. "This endeavour will enhance the impact of these programmes while building a strategic research and development relationship with a company that shares AgriLife's dedication to crop improvement," Nessler said.
The collaboration with Texas AgriLife Research and the Texas A&M University System is an example of Bayer's strategy to work with leading global institutions that share a vision of improving wheat productivity in all the major wheat growing regions of the world.
This agreement complements the many other collaborations that Bayer has in wheat with organisations including South Dakota State University (USA), University of Nebraska-Lincoln (USA), NARDI (Romania), RAGT (France), Evogene (Israel) and CSIRO (Australia).