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Statistical support for the Turkish wheat community

The soilborne pathogens (SBP) program at CIMMYT-Turkey, a Grain Research Development Corporation (GRDC) funded project, hosted two biometricians from the GRDC project Statistics for the Australian Grains Industry (SAGI): Beverley Gogel, a senior biometrician at the University of Adelaide, and Chong You, a biometrician at the University of Wollongong. Their visit, spanning from 31 August to 4 September, was sponsored under the umbrella of the CIMMYT Australia ICARDA Germplasm Evaluation (CAIGE) project.

The main objective of the visit was to advise on how to improve the program’s experimental design and data analysis under the framework of the GRDC-SBP, CIMMYT project. Gogel and You visited experimental locations in the different environments where the SBP group is testing/screening wheat materials against SBPs. They gave very valuable suggestions and recommendations on how to increase efficiency and improve estimates associated with the targeted research questions. The outcome of this statistical support will ultimately improve trial design and analysis and, hence, the results of the full trial process.

At the same time, Abdelfattah A. Dababat, in collaboration with the Transitional Zone Agriculture Research Institute, organized a two-day workshop titled “Understanding linear mixed models from the ground up: Statistical tools for the Turkish National Breeding Programs” to a group of 13 participants, including breeders, pre-breeders, physiologists and pathologists from Turkey, CIMMYT, and ICARDA. Gogel introduced the experimental trial designs used in Australia and described how to analyze both single trials and trials in multiple sites using the ASReml software. Chong You gave a presentation on QTL analysis and described improvements over the current methodologies used by Turkish national breeding programs.

Special thanks to the GRDC for funding this statistics workshop and to the Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock for hosting and facilitating the workshop, especially the Transitional Zone Agriculture Research Institute, Eskisehir.