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Wheat Wide Crosses Program


The basic rationale of Wheat Wide Crosses Program is mandated to acquire, conserve, evaluate (mainly for biotic and abiotic stresses) wheat germplasm and disseminate elite lines to wheat breeders as candidate lines for varietal release. The wheat entities, we work on include landraces, synthetic hexaploid wheat (SHW), synthetic back-derived lines (SBL), advance wheat lines and elite Pakistani wheat cultivars. Further, we tryto understand the nature of stress responses, possible methods of combating them and most importantly understanding the basis of the genetic variation in stress resistance in order to provide firm guidelines to the breeders for the selection of resistant lines to be used in developing tolerant varieties.

With rapidly increasing population growth in Pakistan wheat production is crucial. To accomplish this, additional genetic diversity for combating the major biotic and abiotic stresses is needed. Practically cultivar improvement with new allelic genetic diversity is an approach that has global interest. Thus we can expect that hybridization and selection of elite wheat lines may deliver novel genes resistant to stresses for promising the long term sustainability of wheat production. Such a strategy to harness and exploit new genomic diversity is one of the approaches being used in Wheat Wide Crosses Program and this study is thus envisioned for hybridization and selection of elite high yielding wheat lines resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses.

Salient Achievements:

High yielding wheat lines selection:

·         About 600 wheat lines were evaluated for 1000 kernel weight (TKW) sown during 2012-13 crop cycle. Fifty lines were identified as high yielding.

·         About 890 accessions including landraces synthetic wheat and bread wheat were evaluated for yellow, rust adult plant resistance and for other morphological yield contributing traits. About 100 accessions showed resistance to yellow rust high performance regarding yield.

·         A set of 1009 D-genome synthetic hexapoliods were evaluated and characterized for agro-morphological traits in field to identify lines with high yielding traits.

Salinity tolerance evaluation:

·         310wheat genotypes were evaluated for salinity tolerance. Out of which 17 genotypeswere identified as most salt tolerant.

·         76 genotypes of rice have been screened for salinity tolerance. Six genotypes werefound the most salt tolerant.

Physiological markers:

·         higher shoot K/Na ratio and leaf chlorophyll content are recommended best parameters for screening of wheat and rice for salinity tolerance.

Drought Tolerance evaluation:

·         About 200 wheatand 35 rice genotypes were evaluated for drought tolerance; 15 wheat and 5 rice genotypeswere found tolerant towards drought stress.

Physiological parameters:

·            Proline, chlorophyll, antioxidant SOD activity, membrane stability index and relative water contents were found the useful parameters for screening wheat, rice and canola germplasm for drought tolerance.

Heat Tolerance evaluation:

·            About200 wheat varieties/lines have been evaluated for heat tolerance, 7 wheat genotypesshown tolerance to heat-stress with minimum reduction in yield.

Physiological markers:

·            High leaf proline accumulation and membrane thermo stability were found having good co-relation with heat tolerance and can be recommended for mass screening.

Phosphorus Use efficiency:

·            About 80 wheat varieties/lines have been evaluated for heat tolerance, 5 wheat genotypesefficiently utilized soil phosphorus.

Physiological markers:

·            High p-tissue contents and biomass accumulation were found having good co-relation with p-use efficiency and can be recommended for mass screening.

·            Developed 221 wheat synthetic back-derived lines with emphasis to high yielding resistant biotic and abiotic stresses.

·            Developed 65 breeding populations including F2 to F9 populations.

·            20 Advanced lines are under National Wheat Disease Screening Nursery (NWDSN) evaluation with CDRP, NARC.

·            50 Advanced lines in Preliminary Yield Trials (PYT) with Wheat Program, NARC.

·            We have developed significant and diverse wheat germplasm resources including wheat, synthetic wheat, synthetic derivatives, durum wheat and wheat wild relatives germplasm.

·            Fodder: Initiated seed production of fodder beet a salt loving and the only winter fodder crop for effective utilization of salt affected lands of Pakistan.

Capacity Buildup:

We provided training/research facility to students of various provincial and national universities including PMAS, Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi; Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad; University of Agriculture, Peshawar;The University of Poonch, Rawlakot; University of Haripur, Haripur; and University of Hazara, Mansehra.
Supervised Students:

·            Ten Ph.D. students

·            10 M. Phil students

·            50 internee students from various universities.

Future Focus:

Wheat germplasm acquisition and evaluation for abiotic (drought, heat and salinity) and biotic (rusts) stresses to identify high yielding lines coping with future climactic change.

·            To study genetic control of physiological interest traits.

·            Recommendation to breeders for varietal development against stresses.

·            Identification of genotypes for low soil minerals input: 

Scientists and Staff:







Dr. Jalal-ud-Din

Principal Scientific Officer/Program Leader


Ext. 3114

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Dr. Ejaz Rafique

Principal Scientific Officer


Ext. 3111

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Dr. Noor Elahi Jan

Senior Scientific Officer


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Zahid Mahmood

Senior Scientific Officer

0333-5769084 Ext. 3114

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Khalas Khan





Muhammad Sajjad





Ifthikhar Ahmad

Lab Assistant




Muhammad Ishaq Khan





Muhammad KaleemAttari

Naib Qasid




Resource Person: 

Dr. Jalal Ud Din, PSO

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Phone: 051-90733114, cell: 0334-5102210


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