Wheat is a member of the grass family that produces modified fruit which is fused with its single seed, forming the grain. The fruits are borne together in a panicle and the edible part of the seed or grain is called kernel. The Middle East is the geographical origin of wheat1. Wheat is a staple food that is processed into flour and used for different types of breads, pastries, pastas, and cereals. It is also used for fermentation of alcoholic beverages2 and biofuels3. Triticum aestivum L. (bread wheat) and Triticum durum (durum or macaroni wheat) are the commonly grown species today4.

Wheat is the second most-produced cereal crop after maize, with 683.15 million metric tons of global production in 20095. The top three producers of wheat are China, India, and the United States of America. China, the top producer of wheat globally, utilizes its entire wheat yield. India also cultivates for its own consumption. The U.S. produces around 1.3 to 2 billion bushels per year (1 bushel of wheat at 13.5% moisture=27.21kg) but half of it is exported. Canada, Australia and Argentina also export a portion of their wheat production. For the last decade or so, wheat hectarage has consistently declined and failed to meet the target6.

Maize and soybean are getting ahead of wheat in terms of production because conventional efforts for wheat are not keeping pace with the modernized techniques used to improve maize and soybean7. Thus, there is renewed emphasis on utilizing biotechnology approach to produce more wheat, which may solve the problems that conventional breeding methods cannot. (…)