Plant Sciences and Genetics : Borrowing from the past to build a better future

Wheat is one of the world's major food sources, providing about 20 percent of the calories consumed by mankind. It takes roughly1500 liters or 300 gallons of water to produce one kilo or a little over two pounds of wheat. While the world’s population continues to increase, water resources are continuing to decrease, creating more urgency in developing drought resistant strains of wheat.

Wild emmer wheat was one of the first cereals to be domesticated in the Fertile Crescent about 10,000 years ago. As it adapted and evolved under a wide range of ecological and geographical conditions, it developed a rich range of genetic traits. However, plant domestication and modern breeding methods considerably eroded this genetic diversity.