GERMANY – German chemical and agribusiness company, BASF has joined the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) as a sponsoring partner.

As a sponsor, BASF will participate in IWGSC-led projects and activities including development of genomic resources for wheat scientists and breeders.

Also, as members of the Coordinating Committee, the sponsors help shape the IWGSC priorities, strategic plans, and activities.

These resources aim at facilitating the production of wheat varieties better adapted to environmental challenges, with higher yields, enhanced nutritional quality, and improved sustainability.

IWGSC, through an industry-led program is seeking to establish the scientific foundation to urgently drive innovation in wheat production.

“We are thrilled to have BASF come on board,” said Kellye Eversole, executive director of the IWGSC.

“We have been working with the BASF team in Ghent for many years and they have played a critical role as a leader, a sponsor, and a collaborator in all the consortium’s previous activities which culminated in the publication of the high-quality, reference genome sequence of bread wheat last year.

“Industry leadership is even more essential today as we move forward with our activities that are designed to further build the foundation to accelerate breeding of wheat.”

IWGSC includes 2,400 members from 68 countries comprising of wheat growers, plant scientists, and public and private breeders.

The members bring together expertise to establish an industry-leading wheat seeds and traits research platform with a goal to tackle new threats to global harvests including extreme weather volatility and climate change.

They also target to address demand for wheat which is rapidly rising.

BASF plays a critical role in developing and commercializing next-generation wheat hybrids that will bring significant yield benefits for farmers globally, meet industry demands and contribute to improving people’s lives.

“Our Innovation Center in Ghent is an integral part of our efforts to create the next-generation of hybrid wheat,” said John Jacobs, Program Leader Crop Efficiency, who will represent BASF in the IWGSC Coordinating Committee.

“This new technology will provide growers with a step-change in grain yield and robustness against environmental impacts which we plan to launch in the mid-next decade.

“The wheat reference genome developed under IWGSC leadership has been a cornerstone of our wheat gene discovery and breeding activities and we are convinced the next phase of the projects will be equally important in further advancing public and private wheat R&D.”

Other areas of focus include wheat diversity and development of user-friendly, integrated databases and tools to benefit public breeders and industry partners.