Chapter 1. Wheat improvement
Wheat is a staple for rich and poor alike. Its improvement as a discipline was boosted when statisticians first distinguished heritable variation from environment effects. Many twentieth century crop scientists contributed to the Green Revolution that tripled yield potential of staple crops but yield stagnation is now a concern, especially considering the multiple challenges facing food security. Investments in modern technologies – phenomics, genomics etc. – provide tools to take both translational research and crop breeding to the next level. Herein wheat experts address three main themes: “Delivering Improved Germplasm” outlining theory and practice of wheat breeding and the attendant disciplines; ‘Translational Research to Incorporate Novel Traits’ covers biotic and abiotic challenges and outlines links between more fundamental research and crop breeding. However, effective translational research takes time and can be off-putting to funders and scientists who feel pressure to deliver near-term impacts. The final section ‘Rapidly Evolving Technologies & Likely Potential’ outlines methods that can boost translational research and breeding. The volume by being open access aims to disseminate a comprehensive textbook on wheat improvement to public and private wheat breeders globally, while serving as a benchmark of the current status as we address the formidable challenges that agriculture faces for the foreseeable future.