Aegilops tauschii (Aegilops squarrosa, Triticum tauschii)

Aegilops tauschii (synonyms Aegilops squarrosa, Triticum tauschii), a wild goatgrass that was one of the parent species of bread wheat, when it crossed with tetraploid wheats in rare hybridization events in the Fertile Crescent around 10,000 years ago.

Wheat breeders at CIMMYT use wild relatives of wheat such as Ae. tauschii as a source of new genes with the potential to provide useful traits. In a process that recreates the evolution of bread wheat, Ae. tauschii is hybridized with durum wheat to create synthetic hexaploid wheats (SHWs). These can be crossed with modern bread wheats, acting as a bridge for transferring useful genetic diversity into cultivated wheat.

Photo credit: CIMMYT.