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Characterization of bread wheat, durum wheat, triticale and related cereals

Contributors to this page: CIMMYT – Wheat, Mexico (Thomas Payne), ICARDA, Syria (Ahmed Amri) with inputs also received from CIMMYT – Maize, Mexico (Suketoshi Taba), USDA – National Small Grains Collection, Aberdeen, Idaho, USA (Harold Bockelmann), CGN, Wageningen, The Netherlands (website) and IPK, Gatersleben, Germany (Helmut Knűpffer).

Contents:
Cultural practices
Descriptors
Information

Planting and cultural practices for characterization

A genebank is constrained by local environments that may be divergent from ‘best practice’ defined environments.

Checking the characteristics of the plants (photo: CIMMYT)

Fields

Seasons

Plot sizes

Characterization and harvested area

Plant density

Labelling

Replications

Standard check cultivars

Time of day for data collection

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Descriptors

Morphological descriptors for characterization

See lists for small grain descriptors developed by IBPGR (now Bioversity International) and partners:

Key access and utilization descriptors for wheat developed by Bioversity International and an International Advisory Group (2009).

Revised descriptors for wheat (Triticum spp.) developed by IBPGR (now Bioversity International) Secretariat, Rome and CEC Secretariat, Brussels (1985).

Descriptors for wheat and Aegilops developed by IBPGR (now Bioversity International) (1985).

Rye and Triticale descriptors developed by IBPGR (now Bioversity International) (1985).

Pictures for characterization

Sufficient detail should be captured in images to taxonomically identify the plant and demonstrate the traits that show variation.

Herbarium samples for characterization

It may be advisable that herbaria specimens are to be taken and stored for future reference during field regeneration, particularly for primitive and wild relatives. Sufficient detail should be captured to taxonomically identify the plant and demonstrate the traits that show sufficient differentiable variation.

Molecular descriptors for characterization

SSR markers should be employed to genotype germplasm subsets (because of their availability and relative ease of use), following USDA-National Small Grains Collection recommendations. Note: Technological developments are progressing so quickly in this field that suitable methods and procedures used should be determined at each period of characterization.

More details about molecular protocols can be found at: CIMMYT’s website (1.9MB)

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Recording information during characterization

The following information should be collected and recorded:

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References and further reading

Bioversity International, CIMMYT. 2009. Key access and utilization descriptors for wheat genetic resources. Bioversity International, Rome, Italy; International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Mexico. Available here.

CIMMYT. 2005. Laboratory Protocols: CIMMYT Applied Molecular Genetics Laboratory. Third Edition. Mexico, D.F., CIMMYT. ISBN 9686923306.

IBPGR, CEC. 1985. Descriptors for wheat (revised). International Board for Plant Genetic Resources Secretariat, Rome, Italy; Commission of European Communities Secretariat, Brussels. Available here.

IBPGR. 1985. Descriptors for Rye and Triticale. International Board for Plant Genetic Resources Secretariat, Rome, Italy. HTML version available from: http://www.bioversityinternational.org/index.php?id=19&user_bioversitypublications_pi1[showUid]=2265. Date accessed: 16 May 2010.

IBPGR. 1985. Oat descriptors. International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, Rome, Italy. HTML version available from: http://www.bioversityinternational.org/index.php?id=19&user_bioversitypublications_pi1[showUid]=2209. Date accessed: 16 May 2010.

IBPGR, Information Sciences/Genetic Resources, University of Colorado (USA). 1978. Descriptors for Wheat and Aegilops. International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, Rome, Italy. 29p. Available here.

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The Genebanks

The 11 CGIAR genebanks currently conserve 730,000 of cereals and grain legumes, forage crops, tree species, root and tuber crops, bananas and crop wild relatives.

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