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Winter wheat cultivar maintaining high yield under environmental stress - CORNET WHEAT STRESS

Project duration:
Start 1. October 2009
End 30. September 2011

Project Summary
The impacts of global climate change will also affect the winter wheat production in Central Europe. Cultivars with improved yield stability and high quality when exposed to abiotic stresses like drought and heat are necessary to continue the leading position of the European Union at the global wheat market. 
In general breeding towards improved yield stability has been hindered by its quantitative genetic basis and the complexity of abiotic stress tolerance mechanisms and up till now was focussed in permanent dryland conditions using spring wheat cultivars. 
The strategy proposed for the current study is to exploit high yielding European breeding material for drought/heat tolerance with no or limited negative genetic linkage to yield components. For the characterization of morpho-physiological attributes visual screening, spectral reflectance as well as in plant biochemical measurements will be performed together with molecular genetic analyses of important genomic regions and candidate genes. 
This project will result in the identification of valuable screening tools and molecular markers that will help the breeders to speed up the development of new cultivars with improved yield stability and high quality under environmental stress.
Economic Impact
The SME dominated plant breeding and seed branch in Germany, Austria and Hungary will be the beneficiaries of WHEAT STRESS. Project results will contribute to maintain their competitiveness by new breeding techniques and tools, and identification of quality parameters. One third of the transnational SME-User Committee is directly involved in project activities (field trials and data collection) and interacts closely with the scientists. This guarantees that project results will gain direct and broad access into the practical work of the breeders. Furthermore WHEAT STRESS affects societal needs: security of food/feed, preservation of water resources, and stability of rural environments and agricultural employment.

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