March 2, 2024

Montana State University. Spring Wheat Breeding and Genetics

The spring wheat breeding and genetics project at Montana State University has responsibility for developing varieties for Montana wheat growers and conducting research in the area of wheat genetics. Variety development is focused on heat and drought tolerance and resistance to our major insect pest, the wheat stem sawfly. Wheat genetics research is also focused on these areas. Studies by graduate students and other lab members aim to determine the best genetic combinations for growing high yielding wheat in hot dry environments such as that encountered in Montana. A typical strategy involves development of molecular maps in the lab, followed by field-testing to identify key genes controlling a trait. Other studies involve using molecular mapping and biochemistry to identify new genes for insect resistance and to determine the mechanisms of resistance. Students all gain experience with basic field-plot technique and data analysis, as well as with molecular mapping to identify important genes.

Luther Talbert