UNL earns $5.78 million grant

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Lincoln, NE, Aug. 2 — Harkamal Walia, associate professor of agronomy and horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has been awarded a $5.78 million National Science Foundation grant to explore the affects of high night-time temperatures on wheat and rice.

The stress of high nighttime temperatures can lead to severe losses in the yield and quality of crops. These losses are particularly high for wheat and rice, two major cereal crops worldwide. During the four-year project, Walia’s team will investigate genes and genetic variants in wheat and rice to identify genetic markers and physiological characteristics tied to heat tolerance.

“The effect of high daytime temperatures on crop resilience has been studied, but this project will give us the opportunity to study the impact of high night-time temperatures,” said Walia, who received the award from the NSF’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCoR. “Models suggest a greater widespread increase in night-time temperatures than in daytime temperatures, so we need to develop rice and wheat resilient to these conditions.”


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