Sivakumar Sukumaran*, Hari Krishna, Kuldeep Singh, Khondoker Abdul Mottaleb and Matthew Reynolds
Developing climate-resilient wheat is a priority for South Asia since the effect of climate change will be pronounced on the major crops that are staple to the region. South Asia must produce >400 million metric tons (MMT) of wheat by 2050 to meet the demand. However, the current average yield <3 t/ha is not sufficient to meet the requirement. In this review, we are addressing how pre-breeding methods in wheat can address the gap in grain yield as well as reduce the bottleneck of genetic diversity. Physiological pre-breeding, which incorporates screening of diverse germplasm from gene banks for physiological and agronomic traits, the strategic crossing of complementary traits, high throughput phenotyping, molecular markers-based generation advancement, genomic prediction, and validation of high-value heat and drought tolerant lines to South Asia, can help to alleviate the drastic effect of climate change on wheat production. There are several gene banks, if utilized well, can play a major role in breeding for climate-resilient wheat. CIMMYT’s wheat physiological pre-breeding has delivered several hundred lines via the Stress Adapted Trait Yield Nursery (SATYN) to the NARS in many South Asian countries; India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Iran. Some of these improved germplasms have resulted in varieties for farmer's fields. We conclude the review by pointing out the importance of collaborative interdisciplinary translational research to alleviate the effects of climate change on wheat production in South Asia.
Climate change, pre-breeding, spring wheat, heat stress, drought stress, CIMMYT
Global Wheat Program, International maize and wheat improvement Center (CIMMYT), Division of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, National Institute of Plant Genetic Resources (NIPGR), New Delhi, Scioeconomics program, CIMMYT, Global Wheat Program, International maize and wheat improvement Center (CIMMYT)