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Plant breeding and production

Food for the future

Plant breeding and production is key to the quest to meet the global challenge of providing enough quality food for a growing population.

Our plant breeding and production research has a long history focused on plant genetics and breeding. Our research and development is concentrated on:

  • small grain cereals, especially wheat and barley
  • grain legumes
  • ornamental plants
  • crops for protected agriculture, especially tomato and cucumber.


The technology of plant breeding and production relies on basic knowledge of the genetic control of plant characteristics. It also seeks to produce varieties of crops suitable for both the environments and management systems where they will grow.

Plant scientists based at our research facility, the Plant Breeding Institute (PBI), therefore conduct their research and develop technologies and products in the GxExM space: Genotype x Environment x Management.

On the genetic aspects of GxExM, our plant breeding researchers have demonstrated expertise in the development and use of molecular genomics to uncover the genetics of plant characteristics, and in using the knowledge and tools to undertake breeding that is quicker and more certain to produce plants containing the desired genotype. We also develop genetic variation and source it from our global partners, providing the raw material for breeding.

Both the biotic and abiotic aspects of the changing environments and management in GxExM are covered by plant production research.


We have close links with domestic and international partner organisations including:

To facilitate global collaboration, we have very strong ties with research groups concentrating on the same areas of plant genetics and breeding, and in countries with areas of similar climates, such as the United Kingdom, United States, China, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

We have particularly strong interactions with three centres of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR):


Rust Reports

Volume 14 (2016)

Volume 13 (2015)

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