SBIR Phase I: Increasing Wheat Yield Through Enhanced Plant Architecture

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1315860
Agency Tracking Number: 1315860
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2013
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: BC
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
4222 E. THOMAS ROAD, SUITE 245, PHOENIX, AZ, 85018-7609
DUNS: 135964760
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Claire McCallum
 (530) 750-7182
Business Contact
 Claire McCallum
Phone: (530) 750-7182
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project aims to increase yield in wheat by using TILLING, a reverse genetics tool, to identify novel alleles of candidate wheat yield genes in tetraploid and hexaploid wheat. In crops such as wheat with more complex genome structures and less advanced genomic tools, the major genes underlying many aspects of plant architecture are yet to be identified. However, due to functional conservation, genes regulating traits in rice (and other crops) are likely to play similar roles in wheat. Once new alleles of these genes have been identified they will be subsequently evaluated for the ability to alter wheat architecture and improve yield in the greenhouse and in the field. As a non-GM technology, products from TILLING can rapidly advance to commercialization and do not face market or regulatory restrictions. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project, if successful, will be the economic impact of improved wheat yields. The U.S. is the largest wheat exporter globally, yet the competitiveness of U.S. wheat, both globally and domestically, is declining significantly. Planted acreage is down thirty percent since the 1980s, in large part due to competition from other crops with higher returns. Net returns to farmers from wheat are consistently half or less than that from corn and soy. With a conservative 5% increase in yield resulting from this project, the yearly value creation to the U.S. farmer is estimated at over $30/hectare. In addition, the value of higher yielding wheat varieties to a seed company arising from this research in the U.S. alone is more than $40 million annually. By incorporating favorable alleles of plant architecture genes into a commercial wheat breeding program, it is believed that this project will make a significant contribution to improving the competitiveness of U.S. wheat.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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