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An exciting time for wheat research: Incoming director highlights CIMMYT wheat breeding innovations

Alison Bentley introduces herself and CIMMYT's innovative wheat research at the BGRI Technical Workshop.

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Incoming CIMMYT Global Wheat Program director Alison Bentley speaks at Borlaug Global Rust Initiative Workshop.
Incoming CIMMYT Global Wheat Program director Alison Bentley speaks at Borlaug Global Rust Initiative Workshop. (Photo: CIMMYT)

Alison Bentley, who will be joining the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) next month as director of the Global Wheat Program and the CGIAR Research Program on Wheat, joined wheat research colleagues at the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative Technical Workshop last week to introduce herself and offer her perspective on current prospects for wheat research.  

Bentley, who currently serves as director of Genetics and Breeding at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany in the UK, emphasized the efforts of CIMMYT and partner scientists in the Accelerating Genetic Gains in Maize and Wheat for Improved Livelihoods (AGG) project. 

“AGG is unique, and it’s something that’s really close to my heart in harnessing innovations and deploying them in breeding to deliver genetic gains,” she said. 

Bentley gave workshop attendees a sneak preview of new speed breeding facilities in CIMMYT’s Toluca experimental station, which will help wheat breeders reduce cycle time, saving costs and getting high yielding, improved varieties tested and in farmers’ fields more quickly. 

“There has never been a more exciting time to be involved in wheat research and breeding,” she told the gathering.  

See Alison Bentley’s full presentation from the BGRI Technical Workshop below. 

 

Accelerating Genetic Gains in Maize and Wheat for Improved Livelihoods (AGG) is a 5-year project that brings together partners in the global science community and in national agricultural research and extension systems to accelerate the development of higher-yielding varieties of maize and wheat — two of the world’s most important staple crops. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), AGG fuses innovative methods that improve breeding efficiency and precision to produce and deliver high-yielding varieties that are climate-resilient, pest- and disease-resistant, highly nutritious, and targeted to farmers’ specific needs. 

This story was first posted on the WHEAT website.