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973 project: design and development of wheat varieties with improved yield potential and grain quality traits

Wheat is the second most important food crop in China. However, the progress in raising wheat yield potential through genetic improvement has been slow in the past ten years. This national key basic project is initiated, with the aim to develop wheat varieties with significantly improved yield potential and quality traits through molecular breeding. The knowledge and resources generated in model species studies will be employed to facilitate the identification of key genes controlling important agronomic traits (i.e. yield potential, grain quality, nutrient use efficiency, disease resistance, stress tolerance) of bread wheat. The resultant genes and/or their molecular markers will be deployed for developing elite wheat lines (with one or more traits significantly improved) through genetic transformation or molecular assisted selection. These elite lines will then be combined for developing superior wheat varieties with significantly improved yield potential and stability and desirable grain processing qualities. This project is running for five years (from January 2009 to December, 2013).