Introducing Beneficial Alleles from Plant Genetic Resources into the Wheat Germplasm
Global Crop Diversity Trust, Platz der Vereinten Nationen 7, D-53113 Bonn, Germany
Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), OT Gatersleben, Corrensstr. 3, D-06466 Seeland, Germany
International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Rabat 10112, Morocco
N.I. Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, 119991 Moscow, Russia
The Federal Research Center Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ICG SB RAS), 630090 Novosibirsk, Russia
Department of Field Crops, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Çukurova, Adana 01330, Turkey
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Pierre Devaux and Pierre Sourdille
Received: 7 September 2021
Revised: 24 September 2021
Accepted: 24 September 2021
Published: 29 September 2021
Many crops including wheat have a narrow genetic base after hundreds of years of breeding and selection. This makes it difficult to breed new varieties with increased yields to feed the growing global population, and with stronger tolerance to the wider range of biotic and abiotic stresses that are anticipated with climate change. Thus, there is a need to introduce new genetic diversity into wheat breeding programs. Plant genetic resources stored in genebanks and the wild relatives of crops are potential sources of new genetic diversity. Here, we discuss the importance of these resources for breeding new wheat cultivars, and outline where they are currently stored and used. We also discuss pre-breeding, where genetic regions associated with desirable traits are identified and transferred into materials ready for use in breeding programs. Pre-breeding in wheat, when conducted in close collaboration with breeders, farmers, and end-users, has contributed to many outstanding varieties and novel beneficial diversity. This review addresses various genetic and genomic considerations for the strategic transfer of this useful diversity.