Cereal breeding takes a walk on the wild side

Trends Genet. 2008 Jan;24(1):24-32. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2007.11.001. Epub 2007 Dec 3.


Elite cultivated crop gene pools of the Triticeae tribe (wheat, barley and rye) exhibit limited genetic diversity, raising concerns about our ability to increase or simply sustain crop yield and quality in the face of dynamic environmental and biotic threats. Although exploiting their wild relatives as a source of novel alleles is challenging, it has provided notable successes in cereal improvement for >100 years. Increasingly facile gene discovery, improved enabling technologies for genetics and breeding and a better understanding of the factors limiting practical exploitation of exotic germplasm promise to transform existing, and accelerate the development of new, strategies for efficient and directed germplasm utilization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Biological Evolution
  • Breeding*
  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics
  • Edible Grain / genetics*
  • Geography