Launching “Breedwheat”, a French Stimulus Initiative Project

The French Stimulus Initiative project “Breedwheat” was launched in Clermont-Ferrand (France) on September 29th, 2011, in the presence of Laurent Wauquiez, Minister of Higher Education and Research, and Marion Guillou, President of INRA. The project aims at strengthening the competitiveness of the French breeding sector while addressing the societal demand for sustainability, quality and safety. Bringing together 26 partners from the public and private research and breeding sectors, it has a total budget of €34 million for 9 years.

Updated on 06/04/2013
Published on 12/05/2011
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Led by Catherine Feuillet, Research Director at INRA Clermont-Theix*, Breedwheat will combine structural and functional genomics, genetics, and ecophysiology with high throughput phenotyping and genotyping to identify markers and genes underlying yield and quality traits under abiotic and biotic stress. Moreover, the project will characterize and tap unexploited genetic resources to expand the diversity of French gene banks. Finally, new breeding methods will be developed and evaluated for their socio-economic impact. .This project will enhance the sustainability of wheat production through the development of new varieties that are more robust and less demanding in water and fertilizer, towards a more environmentally friendly agriculture that is adapted to climate change.

Breedwheat will reinforce the French position in the “Wheat-Global Alliance” for world food security led by the international research centers CIMMYT and ICARDA. It will also enable new collaborations with other large scale national projects in the framework of the new international “Wheat Initiative” for the coordination of wheat research, supported by the G20, co-led by INRA and launched on September 15th, 2011 at the French Ministry of Agriculture.

Breedwheat is the 1st French Stimulus Initiative project coordinated by INRA in the category “Biotechnologies and Bioresources” to be launched. Announced on February 23rd, 2011 by the French Minister of Higher Education and Research and the French Minister of Agriculture, Breedwheat is one of the five laureates of the “Biotechnologies and Bioresources” call for proposals. The project represents a total investment of €34 million for 9 years, of which €9 million were granted by the French Stimulus Initiative through the French National Research Agency (ANR). The project gathers the competencies of 26 French partners**, including 11 private companies, to develop and use efficient genome sequence-based tools and new methodologies for breeding wheat varieties with improved quality, sustainability, and productivity.

* Joint Research Unit (INRA-Université Blaise Pascal) for Genetics, Diversity and Ecophysiology of Cereals

** The list of partners is available in the Press Kit (in French)

Written by : INRA press service, phone: +33 (0)1 42 75 91 69

presse@inra.fr or +33 (0)1 42 75 91 69

Contacts :

Catherine Feuillet, Research Director

Joint Research Unit for Genetics, Diversity and Ecophysiology of Cereals

catherine.feuillet@clermont.inra.fr / +33 (0)4 73 62 46 84

Scientific Division “Plant Breeding and Genetics”

INRA Research Centre of Clermont-Ferrand-Theix

Wheat in France:

  • France ranks 5th in the world for production and export (38 Mton in 2010)
  • Wheat represents a major sector in the economy: €6.6 billion in 2007
  • Since 1995, yield rates are stagnating (~7.5 tons/ha)
  • September 29, 2011: Breedwheat is launched to achieve the necessary quantitative and qualitative leaps in wheat research