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CIMMYT-China wheat project honored

A joint wheat quality project between CIMMYT and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) recently received a prestigious award from the Chinese government for research advances.The award, established in 1984, was presented in a ceremony on 9 January in Beijing’s Great Hall of People. Given to outstanding Chinese research programs, this year’s award was granted to 29 initiatives.
The wheat quality team was the only one in the area of agriculture and forestry. Project leader Zhonghu He and select leading scientists attended the ceremony where they met and shook hands with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiaobao.

The wheat quality project, which collaborates with Capital Normal University and Shanxi Academy of Agricultural Science, boasts several major accomplishments. It has established a standardized quality testing system for products such as Chinese noodles, developed 22 functional markers and characterizations of Chinese wheat varieties, and published 120 research papers, including 54 papers in leading international journals in the area of crop genetics, breeding, and cereal chemistry. In addition, the project established a technique to separate storage protein and acid capillary electrophoresis for separation of high molecular weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GS), the cloning of six new genes for HMW-GS, and first report of illegitimate recombination for formation of HMW-GS.

Other accomplishments include the development of two core parents with an outstanding quality for pan bread making from CIMMYT wheats Yécora F74 and Saric F74 which contributed to the creation of 10 leading varieties that cover a total area of 8 million hectares, and the training of more than 50 postgraduates. Collaboration and support from CIMMYT cereal chemist Dr. Roberto Javier Peña, Dr. Craig Morris from USDA-ARS, Prof. Rudi Appels at Murdoch University, and Dr. Ken Quail at BRI, contributed to the work’s success.