Drought-tolerant tomatoes, improved wheat and grass pea could provide crops for the future. Seven new research projects have been launched to help provide new or improved crops for the future. The projects involve collaborations between researchers in the UK and India and aims to provide crops suitable for a changing climate and to produce more food with fewer inputs. The research has been made possible thanks to £5M funding from the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and matched resources from India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
Professor Jackie Hunter, Chief Executive, BBSRC, said: “These projects combine the strengths of researchers in India and the UK to help provide solutions to increasing food demands. Advances in sequencing, genomic and bioinformatic tools enable us to improve crops more rapidly than ever before to facilitate the step-change in agricultural productivity that will be required to feed the world sustainably.”
The projects include: enhancing the nutritional value of a flood and drought tolerant, but toxic pea into a safe crop; improving wheat to make it more tolerant to drought; identifying genes that could make crops resistant to pests and diseases to reduce the need for chemical sprays; producing drought-tolerant tomatoes; and improving seed quality in oilseed rape.