Heat-tolerant wheat lines may bring high yield

With winter heat posing a new challenge to the wheat crop yield in north India, farm researchers have stumbled upon 42 heat-tolerant wheat lines that can act as a parent to develop new high-yielding but heat-tolerant wheat varieties for India.

The 42 wheat seed materials were identified after screening almost 22,000 wheat seed materials, kept at the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) here, in the last two years.

The mega experiment, conducted in two large farms in Delhi and Hissar in the last two years, led to the identification of parental lines for developing what could be a high-yielding but heat-tolerant wheat variety for north India.

A gradual rise in temperature between February and April has led to reduction in the grain yield. While the plant ideally requires a temperature of 25-30 degrees Celsius, over the last few years, winter temperature in the northern plains shot up to as high as 37 degrees. There are several scientific studies worldwide to show how warming poses a big challenge to the wheat crop. High temperature stress not only reduces the number of grains per ear but also the grain weight and thus decreases the overall grain yield in wheat.

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