Scientists at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) are testing forgotten wheat varieties from around the world to find traits that can better cope with drought, rising temperatures, and excessive rainfall.  Through breeding, the scientists hope to create new varieties of wheat that will thrive under extreme and unpredictable weather conditions farmers are experiencing all over the world.  Scientists are turning to wild and forgotten wheat varieties in the hunt for deep roots, waxy leaves, and stress hormones, with as much diversity as possible, racing against well-adapted and more aggressive pathogens.  

Wheat accounts for 20% of the world’s carbohydrate and protein intake – the most widely consumed grain globally – and is farmed in every inhabited continent to be eaten by billions of people.  Modern wheat varieties can be traced back to wild grasses domesticated by Neolithic farmers which were brought to Mexico by Spanish settlers.

The race against time to breed wheat to survive a changing climate