Using wild plants and their genetic diversity for development of novel crops in a changing climate

Last changed: 06 September 2021

Our aim is to develop cereal crops that are stress-tolerant and perennial, since such crops can provide several advantages in agriculture and for the environment.

Agriculture faces several challenges when providing us with food and animals with feed. At the same time, it must withstand the ongoing changes in the climate and also be able to make its contribution to reduce the negative environmental impacts. The development of new “climate-smart crops” is a prerequisite for meeting these challenges and this is where our work comes in. By developing stress-tolerant and perennial cereals, we aim to contribute to a sustainable agriculture and improved food security. The plants that we are focusing on are barley and wheat and their wild relatives.

You can read more about our research in the following projects:

Plants similar to wheat growing on a field in tufts, photo.
Thinopyrum intermedium, wild perennial relative of wheat for breeding of perennial cereals. Photo: Anna Westerbergh
White seeds in black planting compartments, photo.
Planting of Thinopyrum intermedium seeds: Photo: Anna Westerbergh
A spike under a blue sky, photo.
Spike of Hordeum bulbosum, wild perennial relative of barley. Photo: Per-Olof Lundquist
A man kneeling in a field, taking samples by the ground, photo.
Mohammad Sameri evaluating hybrids of the wild perennial relative Thinopyrum intermedium and annual wheat. Photo: Anna Westerbergh
cultivation squares on a field with a man walking by them, photo.
Evaluation of response to waterlogging in accessions of the wild ancestor of barley H. spontanuem. Photo: Anna Westerbergh
Green wheat field where certain areas are yellow, photo.
Winter wheat infected by Wheat dwarf virus outside Uppsala, Sweden. Photo: Jim Nygren
Timothy stand
Timothy grass in a stand with other forage crops. Photo: Anna Westerbergh


A woman sitting in a field, holding a tuft of grass, photo.Anna Westerbergh

Associated Professor
Department of Plant Biology, SLU
Telephone: +46 (0)18-67 33 40