Crop lead center

Wheat is the number 2 staple crop in the developing world. Its geographic distribution is truly global. From the humid lowlands of northern Mexico to the dry plains of Kazakhstan, wheat is sown on more than 200 million ha of developing country farmland.

While many wheat farmers grow their crops on relatively large farms, large numbers, especially in the eastern Indo-Gangetic Plains of India, Bangladesh and Nepal are resource poor, with little land. The demand for quality wheat products like bread and chapatti in developing countries is increasing with the rising population and urbanisation but the farming systems impose major constraints on the environment and the future capacity to produce.

Biological information

Wheat is a self-pollinated grass belonging to the tribe Triticeae of the Poaceae family. It is usually cultivated as an inbred line.

Triticum aestivum or bread wheat is a hexaploid species composed of three homoeologous genomes (AA, BB, DD, 3x 1n =21 chromosomes) with a genome size of 1C=16 Gbp.

Triticum durum or durum wheat is tetraploid with AABB genomes.

Because of the size and complexity of the wheat genome, its close relative grasses – barley, Brachypodium and rice – are often used as genomic resources for wheat. However, the improvement of genomic technologies is now enabling the production of genomic sequences for wheat, moving toward a reference sequence of the genome.


photo: X. Fonseca - CIMMYT


Crop database

To obtain the Central Database for Wheat (which provides historical phenotyping data, germplasm information, trait information, and some genotyping data), download the Breeding Management System.

Data curator:

  • Rosemary Shrestha [for Crop Ontology]


Molecular markers


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