Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/20/2016
Publication Date: 6/30/2017
Citation: Skinner, D.Z. 2017. Advances in cold-resistant wheat varieties. In Langridge, P., editor. Achieving Sustainable Cultivation of Wheat. Volume 1. Cambridge, UK:Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing. p. 153-173.
Interpretive Summary: Freezing tolerance in winter wheat plants is essential to survival of the crop, but improving cold tolerance has proven to be difficult. No meaningful improvement of winter hardiness in available cultivars has been realized over the past several decades. Research into this problem over the past 15 years has centered largely on understanding changes in gene expression as the plants are exposed to low, above-freezing temperatures, and then subfreezing temperatures, and identifying molecular markers associated with those gene expression changes. This book chapter provides a review of the findings of those studies, and provides a new interpretation of the overall response of wheat plants to low-temperature stress.
Technical Abstract: Two lines of research have been pursued to increase the understanding and utility of the existing levels of winterhardiness of winter wheat. Much progress has been made from agronomic approaches such that in a recent review, it was observed that, while western Canada and Siberia have the coldest climates for crop production of any large agricultural regions in the world, “The widespread adoption of continuous cropping and no-till in western Canada has essentially eliminated the risk of winterkill if adapted wheat cultivars with a high level of winter hardiness are grown using recommended management practices.” A greater understanding of the genetic basis of winterhardiness per se would facilitate the maintenance of useful levels of low temperature tolerance, and enable the development of molecular tools that may ultimately lead to incremental improvements of winterhardiness. Accordingly, much research in the previous 15 years has been directed to understanding the transcriptomic and genetic basis of the wheat plants’ response to low, above freezing temperatures, and, to a lesser extent, exposure to subfreezing temperatures. This review of recent advances aims to summarize the findings of those studies.