• • • Misinterpretations about climate resilience and adaptability of modern wheat
An alarming report early this year from European climate researchers, published in the renowned journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), questioned the climate resilience of modern wheat varieties (https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1804387115). Now, after growing criticism from renowned crop scientists from all over the world, the PNAS have recognized the need to publish critical responses in the form of letters to the editors.
In these letters to the editors, scientists criticize that the original report unnecessarily discredited European plant breeders and cultivar registration authorities, whose efforts over many decades have led to a broad variety of regionally adapted, yield-stable wheat varieties which continue to steadily increase the productivity and sustainability of global food production.
The misinformation communicated by the study was also deeply unsettling for farmers, who rely on scientifically sound official tests and variety recommendations to guide their cultivar choices. Unfortunately, this case appears to represent a rare failure in the standard measures for quality assurance in scientific publishing. Wheat producers and bread-consumers around the world will be relieved to learn that breeders have not ignored climate change after all.