MANHATTAN, KAS. — Wheat gene editing and implementation of advanced breeding technologies for wheat are among the Kansas Wheat Commission’s research projects set for fiscal funding in 2020. In total, the K.W.C. has earmarked $1,187,769 for funded projects in 2020.

Nearly a quarter of the funding, or $284,604, is slated for a hard red winter wheat breeding program overseen by Allan Fritz, a professor at Kansas State University.

“The primary focus is on development of hard red winter wheats, with a smaller focus on hard white wheat,” the K.W.C. said. “An increased focus has been placed on developing quality traits that have the potential to add value.”

Other K.S.U. professors were awarded grants as well.

Meanwhile, Guorong Zhang is set to receive $142,000 to be used for the development of competitive hard red and hard white winter wheat varieties with the adaption to the semi-arid area in western Kansas.

Eduard Akhunov’s work with wheat gene editing will receive $102,620.

“The existing K.S.U. expertise and infrastructure in wheat genetics, genomics, breeding, wheat transformation and next-generation sequencing provide us unique opportunity to establish the Wheat Gene Editing Platform (W.G.E.P.) for targeted engineering of the wheat genome using G.E. technologies,” the K.W.C. said of the project. “The W.G.E.P. will be used as vehicle for creating novel genetic variation in the Kansas breeding programs by modifying genes controlling major agronomic traits in wheat including but not limited to yield, resistance to pests and pathogens, drought and heat tolerance, end-use and nutritional quality. The W.G.E.P. will interact with the public and private wheat breeders and geneticists to devise and implement G.E. strategies on the traits of interest.”

Other projects receiving funding include:

  • KS wheat quality lab, Yonghui Li — $98,415
  • Improving wheat quality with balanced sulfur and nitrogen management, Nathan Nelson — $68,391
  • Kansas yield-enhancing strategies, Romulo Lollato — $59,452
  • Understanding interactions of the wheat virome, mite vector genome and wheat cultivar composition, Shahideh Nouri — $55,636
  • Biotech approaches for trait enhancement in wheat, Harold Trick — $50,000
  • Implementation of advanced breeding technologies, Allan Fritz — $50,000
  • Forecasting yield based on satellite images/spring wheat research, Romulo Lollato — $44,576
  • Chromosome engineering for BYD germplasm, Bernd Friebe — $41,200
  • Molecular mapping of yellow rust resistance, Sanzhen Liu — $39,500
  • Innovative approaches to diminish BYD epidemics in Kansas wheat, Jesse Poland — $33,910
  • Disease phenotyping: Determining the reaction of wheat lines to important disease, Jessica Rupp — $33,910
  • Biology and management of feral rye, Vipan Kumar — $19,075
  • K-State wheat extension program, publications and activities, Romulo Lollato — $10,000
  • Identifying QTLs for heat tolerance in wheat, Jianming Fu — $5,000.