MAGIC Map and Go: Deploying MAGIC populations for rapid development and dissemination of genetic markers for yield improvement in elite UK winter wheat (BBSRC LINK)

The 'MAGIC YIELD' project
Project number
Lead partner
Start Date
April 2015
End date
March 2018
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds funding

The challenge

Wheat is the most important cereal for direct human consumption and represents the primary global source of vegetable protein. To meet growing demand, wheat yields must increase; in the UK, this needs to take place against a background of unpredictable climate and reduced inputs. Delivering ‘sustainable intensification’ requires breeders to improve both yield and yield stability in the face of unpredictable future environments.

The project

This project targets the genetic improvement of grain yield, the principle target for both breeders and farmers. It exploits the powerful union of high-density genotyping with a MAGIC UK wheat population that captures high levels of genetic recombination and genetic diversity to achieve the following objectives:
(i) Map quantitative trait loci (QTL, the genetic determinants that control a trait) for yield, yield components and yield stability at high precision.
(ii) Provide a molecular tool-kit for precise manipulation of yield alleles in breeding programmes.
(iii) Provide the participating breeders with analysis pipelines and resources with which they can independently carry out analysis of MAGIC datasets, both within and after project duration.
(iv) Rigorously validate the application of the novel molecular breeding methodology, genomic selection, in wheat.

The benefits

The project will deliver benefits to many areas of the UK wheat industry. Participating wheat breeders will benefit from the joint resources leveraged and utilise project outputs (QTL discovery, closely linked molecular markers, statistical methodologies) directly within their breeding programmes. UK growers will benefit from the availability of new wheat varieties with improved genetic potential for yield and yield stability (i.e. the ability to achieve higher and more stable yields) and the associated benefits that go with increased grain yield per unit area (i.e. reduced input costs, increased land use efficiency).

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