NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — The National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced that it intends to award $15.4 million in grant funding over the next three years to support research using genomic and other technologies to improve the yield potential of wheat.
The agency is seeking grant applications for projects with a particular focus on the use of new technologies that could enable breakthroughs in wheat breeding, as well as on discoveries that lead to greater grain size, set, and filling during and after embryo formation without compromising grain protein concentration.
New technologies have the potential to "unlock wheat genetics and breeding, and to explore the wheat genome to a much greater extent than is currently possible," the NIFA said.
However, significant additional work is required before such technologies can be applied to wheat, given its particularly complex genome. As such, the agency said that it aims to fund projects involving transformative research that will enable the development of products based on emerging technologies that can be used by commercial wheat breeders including genome editing approaches to create novel variation that boosts the yield potential of wheat in ways that do not involve stress tolerance; and the high-throughput production of double haploids from all wheat genotypes.
The NIFA is also interested in projects that identify genetic variations that influence photosynthesis and carbon deposition, which may allow the generation of novel ideotypes with improved architectures and high harvest indices.
The agency is also requesting grant applications for research on wheat grain-improvement such as the discovery of genetic variation that increases floret number, grain number, and grain size; and the development of genetic tools that aid in the breeding of plants with improved traits.
The NIFA said that it intends to award roughly $3.4 million in fiscal 2016 under this funding opportunity, but it has not made a commitment to a specific number of grants.
Additional details can be found here.