UNN scientists develop technology to accelerate Russian wheat breeding
UNN scientists joined the development of a technology to speed up the breeding of Russian wheat. The research is carried out as part of the Russia's Bread project under the Federal science and technology programme on genetic technologies development. The project is aimed at applying genetic technologies to accelerate the breeding of cereal crops (wheat and triticale). The Federal Research Centre "Vavilov All-Russian Institute of Plant Genetic Resources" (VIR) is the lead contractor of the project.
Lobachevsky University biophysicists are to design methods of laboratory and field phenotyping to accelerate wheat breeding, develop an integrated platform of phenotypic data and identify a combination of genotypic and phenotypic indicators. In this way, the indicators can be used to improve the efficiency of cereal breeding.
"Based on the optical imaging methods, we can determine not only standard characteristics such as shoot height, leaf area, crude weight and dry weight of the plant, but also the activity of the most important physiological processes: photosynthesis and transpiration. And we can do this without damaging the plant, without taking it out of the research (breeding) process," said Vladimir Vodeneev, Head of the Biophysics Department at the UNN Institute of Biology and Biomedicine.
Using drones equipped with special cameras, researchers obtain multispectral images at different stages of cereal growth at the Dagestan VIR experimental station. Based on these images, biophysicists will be able to calculate indices for in-depth assessment of plant health.
By using the method currently under development, it will be possible to identify the characteristics that will be used to accurately assess growth dynamics and plant responses to various external factors, which will help to correctly select the most promising lines.
"As a result, markers of plant characteristics important for agriculture, such as productivity, tolerance to drought or salinity, and susceptibility to disease, can be identified," said Vladimir Vodeneev.
The Russia's Bread project involves research groups from a number of research centres from central and northern Russia, the Urals and Siberia.