Triticale… problems and progress with a new cereal crop
TRITICALE IS A SYNTHETIC CEREAL species—a product of man's ingenuity and his ability to manipulate delicately balanced biological systems. Specialized techniques used in creating this new species include doubling the chromosome number and culturing immature embryos artificially. Triticales, resulting from hybridizing wheat (Triticum) and rye (Secede), are technically called am-phiploids. The hybrid is not new; in fact, wheat-rye hybrids were first reported in the nineteenth century. In the past 30 years, many triticales have been produced, from both common wheats (42 chromosomes) and durum wheats (28 chromosomes) in crosses with rye (14 chromosomes). The bread wheat-rye triticales (octoploids) were studied extensively but did not combine desirable qualities of the two parents as anticipated. Similarly, durum wheat-rye triticales (hexaploids) did not meet expectations. Major defects of triticales included wrinkled grain, sterility in the spikes, low grain yield, poor baking and milling quality, and late maturity. The poorer qualities of both wheat and rye appeared to be combined in triticale. The stage was set, however, for major improvement when hexaploid and octoploid triticales, obtained from plant breeders throughout the world, were observed and intercrossed at the University of Manitoba from 1954 to 1962. These new crosses, among triticales themselves, produced agronomically promising types. The new types from Manitoba have stimulated interest in triticale research.