More than half a million wheat genetic resources are resting in gene banks worldwide. Unlocking their hidden favorable genetic diversity for breeding is pivotal for enhancing grain yield potential, and averting future food shortages. Here, we propose exploiting recent advances in hybrid wheat technology to uncover the masked breeding values of wheat genetic resources. The gathered phenotypic information will enable a targeted choice of accessions with high value for pre-breeding among this plethora of genetic resources. We intend to provoke a paradigm shift in pre-breeding strategies for grain yield, moving away from allele mining toward genome-wide selection to bridge the yield gap between genetic resources and elite breeding pools.
Keywords: Genetic resources; allele mining; genome-wide selection; hybrid technology; wheat.
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