Report on WISP course on Wheat Genetics
John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK
19-22 November 2012

WISP Course Group Photo Nov 2012.JPG

Ten international participants arrived to Norwich on Sun/Mon 18th/19th Nov 2012, in order to learn practical steps involved in the Wheat Pre-Breeding. The wheat-pre-breeding team under the lead of Dr. Simon Griffiths welcomed them to the John Innes Centre on Monday morning. After a short overview over the work of the WISP landrace pillar ( and the course tutors, the participants got the chance to introduce themselves and the institutes they came from. Participants had come from Argentina, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Austria and UK, having different background, some more academic and some more applied from the breeding sector.

During the following days of the course the participants were
introduced to the steps of the pre-breeding programme in different
modules. They learned about wheat germplasm and the production of
mapping populations from interesting varieties. This included the
practical steps of crossing wheat plants and best green-house and
field procedures for larger crossing programmes.

Processing of field collected samples was also part of the plant/green-house module. In another modules, the development of genetic markers was introduced. Starting with finding sequence information in databases, it was demonstrated how to use bioinformatic tools to identify SNPs specific for one of the three genomes (homeolog SNPs) in regions of genetic diversity.

Using these SNP-markers for genotyping a mapping population was the task in the lab based module using high-throughput KASPar genotyping equipment.

The production of linkage maps from the genotype datasets was the topic of the next module, using free genetic mapping software. Finally, in the Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) analysis, the phenotypes, genotypes and map were joined up in order to find regions in the wheat genome, which influence the traits, which were investigated earlier in the course.

Historic tour of Norwich

Not all course activities were taking place in the wet or computer lab. There was also an outing to the Limagrain plant breeding station at Woolpit and a historic tour of Norwich and a course dinner, which helped the exchange between students.

The course feed back forms showed that the participants have taken knowledge they valued back to their institutes. The course was also a very good experience for the team at the JIC and has certainly broadened their horizon. WISP Course Evaluation 2012