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The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the Center author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Center Overview

The Wheat Genetics Resource Center (WGRC) is a public-private research consortium that mines and harnesses the valuable attributes of wheat’s ancient ancestors to help breeders — and then farmers — produce better quality wheat and higher yielding crops.

Genetic diversity is needed to improve wheat. Without such diversity, breeders will be unable to make progress necessary to protect the yield of wheat farmers while providing opportunities to deliver value to the consumer. WGRC’s mission is to mobilize genetic diversity to enhance wheat yields and meet food security and consumer needs.

WGRC’s research systematically unlocks the genetic potential of wild wheats to deliver value to farmers, seed companies, milling and food manufacturers, and consumers. The portfolio is designed to efficiently discover traits within the wild wheat collection that protect wheat yields from drought, heat, pests, and disease. Meanwhile, researchers are searching within these wild wheats for unique flavors, nutrition, and functionality to develop healthy and delicious ingredients for the dinner table.

Universities

  • Kansas State University
View Center Website

Center Personnel

William Zorrilla
Managing Director

wzorrilla@earthsharvest.org

Bernd Friebe
Associate Director

friebe@ksu.edu

Haley Ahlers
Program Manager and Communications

hahlers@ksu.edu

Jesse Poland
Center Director
7855326804
jpoland@ksu.edu

Research Focus

The research portfolio is designed to increase the speed at which new traits can be utilized and to systematically deliver these traits to the marketplace.

  • Direct assessment of novel glutenin alleles in Aegilops tauschii.
  • Field-based germplasm development from wild species.
  • Genetic analyses of rust resistance in Aegilops tauschii.
  • Genomic characterization of the WGRC collection: analysis of A-genome diploids and Aegilops species.
  • Identification of chemical drivers of liking in wheat.
  • Novel genetics stocks for chromosome-wide enhancement of genetic recombination.
  • Phenotypic characterization of wild wheat core sets.
  • Quality evaluation of wild emmer introgressions. 
  • Screening and characterization of resistance for sawfly.

Awards