Composite cross populations in wheat

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1 Composite cross populations in wheat Martin Wolfe The Organic Research Centre and Wakelyns Agroforestry,Suffolk

2 Evolution of hexaploid wheat

3 In the wild Diversity within bread wheat (around 85,000 genes) a) diversity among the three genomes b) low rates of out-crossing and mutation c) epigenesis (- all leading to massive diversity within and among plant stands) In current domestication a) cross-breeding for monoculture varieties b) many genes not affected by DUS definition for monoculture c) mixtures and composite cross populations (- leading to major reduction in diversity per unit area, hence synthetics and WHEALBI)

4 Monoculture Simple for: a) planting b) chemical applications c) harvesting d) processing But, totally dependent on: a) non-sustainable inputs b) continuous new monoculture variety supply While generating: a) strong selection for diseases, pests and weeds b) carbon emissions c) industrial food for humans and livestock d) profitable business

5 Yellow stripe rust of wheat

6 Boosting evolution of the pathogen a. P. striiformis evolved as a sporeproducing 'factory' just to survive b. Thus, monoculture encouraged massive population increase in the pathogen (which overcame R vars, fungicides) c. Now globalisation of resistance monoculture has selected GREATER AGGRESSION AND WIDER CLIMATE TOLERANCE Milus, E.A., Kristensen, K., and Hovmoller, M.S Phytopathology 99:89-94.

7 Unifying concepts in ecology (Loreau 2010) There are positive correlations between: a) DIVERSITY and STABILITY b) DIVERSITY and PRODUCTIVITY - recently proven for large-scale natural and agricultural systems

8 Diversification Diversity is needed, simultaneously: a) within crops (mixtures, populations) b) among crops, animals (rotations, species mixtures, inter-cropping)

9 Breeding directions for increasing diversity a) Pure line varieties increasing range of parents b) Static mixtures c) Evolving mixtures d) Populations

10 Summary from 122 variety mixture trials The image cannot be displayed. Your computer may not have enough memory to open the image, or the image may have been corrupted. Restart your computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, you may have to delete the image and then insert it again.

11 The yield stability of a variety mixture

12 A 350,000 hectare field trial: spring barley mixtures in the GDR

13 But the yield plateau for wheat is largely due to increasing climate extremes and unpredictable variability. Which adds to the expected greater environmental variation in organic production. This means even more diversity is essential.

14 Y - 36 crosses; Q 66 crosses; YQ 107 crosses (Total crosses 190 rather than 210 because of Bezostaya) ( components (NB Mixtures have only 9 (Y), 12 (Q) or 20 (YQ) fixed

15 Within-crop diversity: wheat populations POSITIVE Capacity: more phenotypic and genotypic variation Complementation: different genotypes complement each other Compensation: if some fail, others take their place Change: evolutionary shifts in response to selection NEGATIVE Competition: may work against the four Cs above.

16 Resilience: comparing yields of different populations relative to control, cv. Alchemy The image cannot be displayed. Your computer may not have enough memory to open the image, or the image may have been corrupted. Restart your computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, you may have to delete the image and then insert it again.

17 The Organic Research Centre Alchemy and CCP drilled 16 Oct 2012

18 The Organic Research Centre Alchemy and CCP drilled 25 Oct 2012

19

20

21 Yield stability of wheat populations Yield variability over two growing seasons lower in wheat populations than in control variety Claire and farmers' own variety The image cannot be displayed. Your computer may not have enough memory to open the image, or the image may have been corrupted. Restart your computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, you may have to delete the image and then insert it again.

22 Genetic changes in the YQ composite cross 1. No clear evidence of local adaptation (may be because of experimental limitations) 2. Most of the observed changes are changes in gene frequency, not related to management or site 3. There was strong selection against dwarfing genes and photoperiod insensitivity 4. These major changes appear to reflect adaptation to growing in a mixed stand (and probably explain the excellent weed competition in the populations)

23 Mixing populations and varieties (2012 harvest) a) Component yields (t/ha) Conv. site Organic Alchemy Solstice YQ CCP b) Relative mixture yields Var. 2: YQ 1 Var. 1: YQ 2 Alchemy Solstice

24 Registration of composite cross populations 1. Parent description: population objective 2. Crossing method 3. Generation number 4. Cultivation history (include data summaries if available) 5. Standard seed certification

25 Possible uses of composite cross populations 1. Select pure line varieties 2. Use selected lines for novel mixtures 3. Mix populations with specific varieties 4. Use mass, or plant, selection to 'steer' the population 5. Select for reliable performance in specific environments, e.g. alley cropping, spring or winter, high/low altitude or latitude 6. Select for co-evolution in inter-cropping systems 7. Exploit new diversity emerging from WHEALBI

26 Wheat populations and diverse hardwood trees

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