History of wheat breeding in Latvia

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History of wheat breeding in Latvia

A gene pool of Latvian winter and spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) has been created over a very long period, by collection, evaluation and selection of local genetic resources, and investigation of varieties and breeding lines from other countries in the world. It is not only a historical collection, but also serves as the foundation for research and plant breeding. National wheat germplasm is the framework for creating competitive winter and spring wheat varieties of grain with high yield, resistant to lodging and diseases, and quality acceptable for producers in the Baltic agroclimatical region. In Latvia, from 1920 to 1990, the selected wheat varieties were not stable pure lines, but mostly population varieties. After accession to UPOV (International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants), the requirements for new varieties have changed, and only distinct, uniform and stable varieties, characterised by high economical value are registered in Plant Catalogues. To implement wheat breeding programmes it is necessary to improve breeding methods by plant tissue culture and production of doubled haploids (DH). During 90 years, 16 winter and 11 spring wheat varieties of bread wheat (Tr. aestivum L.) have been created at Priekuļi and Stende and introduced in the market. The achievements of several generations of Latvian wheat breeders are reviewed in this paper.

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