b'HOLY GRAIL ORMISSION IMPOSSIBLE? THE CONTINUING RANGE OF EXCITING DEVELOPMENTS IN HYBRID WHEAT.BY: MARCEL BRUINSQ uestion: What is the most widely grown crop in theof its own, like SPLITGENE. In the 1990s, NORDSAAT partnered world? Wheat! Many different varieties of this crop arewith HybriTech, providing key germplasm to create the first suc-grown on a whopping 215 million hectares per year,cessful wheat hybrids produced with the Chemical Hybridizing which is traded for nearly US $50 billion-worth globally eachAgent (CHA) Genesis (active substance clofencet). NORDSAAT year. Eaten by 2.5 billion people, it supersedes maize or ricehad its first own hybrid HYBNOS1 listed in Germany in 1999.as a source of protein in low- and middle-income nations andWhen HybriTech ceased its operations in 2000 and discon-is second only to rice as a source of calories. But what abouttinued Genesis, NORDSAAT took over the portfolio, which was hybrid wheat? It has been tried and tested for almost 90 years,mainly marketed in France, and handed it to ASUR. Being in but large-scale adoption is yet to come. France, ASUR was in a better position to continue marketing the To find out where things stand with hybrid wheat devel- portfolio, says von Rhade, and to produce seeds. ASUR also made opment at the moment, European Seedspoke with Wolfan agreement with Hybrinova, a Dupont subsidiary at the time, von Rhade, President at ASUR Plant Breeding, Guillaume deto use Duponts CHA, CROISOR (active substance sintofen). A Castelbajac, Managing Director at ASUR Plant Breeding, Marcoyear later, when Dupont also stopped its HW operation, ASUR Busch, Head of EMEA Breeding for Bayer AG - Crop Scienceacquired it, along with CROISOR.Division,Tatiana Dimitriadi, European Marketing Manager forBASF has been dedicated to the development of HW for Hybrid Wheat at BASF, Sarah Iveson, Head of Seeds Developmentseveral years now. Since we created our HW research platform, EAME at Syngenta and Rob Hiles, EAME Cereals Portfolio andsays Dimitriadi, we have been working closely with public and Strategy Lead at Syngenta. private organizations to ensure we understand their strategic priorities and key issues to ensure HW can deliver value to the PAST PROGRESS entire value chain. All four of these companies have extensive history in the devel- Bayer had been active in wheat R&D for about 10 years, opment of hybrid wheat (HW). In ASURs case, its main share- until it divested its HW R&D activities to BASF as part of the holder NORDSAAT had been working on HW since the 1950s,acquisition process of Monsanto. At the same time, weve been as had several other European wheat breeders and institutes,offering wheat growers a broad range of crop protection solu-trying different hybridization techniques and developing sometions, Busch explains. While it hasnt been possible for a very In vitro culture of hybrid wheat. Source: BASF.6IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'