Wheat a Triticum Spp. belongs to Gramineae family and its most widely cultivated species is Triticum aestivum (AABBDD) which has both hulled and free threshing types. The free threshing type is more prominent in cultivation all over the world. Its development as hexaploid has taken place in nature through repeated natural hybridization among its parents of different species spread over the Mid-Eastern Europe including Turkey and Serya. The best known of which are common wheat and durum wheat. It is an important domesticated grass used worldwide for food. Its evolution has been influenced by human intervention since the dawn of agriculture. There is no high Iron containing varieties of wheat available in the world either developed or selected from the natural sources and not to speak of genetically engineered type. A team of researchers at the John Innes Centre (JIC) have developed wheat lines that require to be tested under tested for performance including the gene/s for High Iron content under controlled growing conditions. This GE crop testing requires consent of the appropriate authority to conduct field trials of genetically modified (GM) wheat. Two small-scale trials are planned to be conducted within the existing facilities of the JIC and will continue until 2022. The trials will be done to determine if the GM wheat has the same plant height and grain production traits as its parent line. This also indicates that even the GM materials developed will require appropriate performance test in the field. There are possibilities that High Iron GM wheat can be developed by sequencing the TaVIT2 (Vacuolar Iron Transporter 2) gene behind a regulatory piece of the wheat genome. This sequence will help the wheat variety to know when and where to produce the iron transporter, thereby making the wheat produce extra iron transporters during grain development in wheat. Again TILLING as a technique has been successfully used to develop newer genetic variations of diverse types which can be identified at different stages of growth using specific molecular technique. ASRBC-ACI has already isolated a number of high yielding wheat gene-level mutant lines for testing of their traits using Molecular technique. Rothamsted Research Institute’s wheat variety of twenty tons by 2020 is another program where advanced molecular breeding programs are being used.
Prof. Lutfur Rahman