PAUL Fox has been appointed general manager of Grain Biotech Australia (GBA), a privately-owned, WA-based, national wheat breeding company.
Dr Fox joined GBA in early 2003 after more than 20 years overseas, including 18 years in Mexico with The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre and two years in the US as international product development manager with Stoneville Pedigree Seed Company, Memphis, Tennessee.
At GBA, he has been heading up the wheat breeding team, with support from field operations manager Stephen Brown.
GBA¹s first three wheat varieties for WA ‹ Shenton, Ruby and Sapphire ‹ were released last August and, according to Dr Fox, are the first of many new varieties to emerge from the GBA pipeline.
Shenton is a high-yielding, short-season variety, well adapted to low and medium rainfall zones and intended as a replacement for Westonia.
Ruby is a high-yielding and extremely robust mid-season variety, intended as an alternative to Wyalkatchem.
³Shenton and Ruby possess outstanding disease resistance packages,² Dr Fox said.
Sapphire is a high-yielding, broadly adapted long-season variety, excellent for early sowing and intended as a replacement for Camm.
A fourth variety, Combat, was simultaneously released for eastern Australia.
As the first private Australian company to integrate the latest biotechnology techniques with advanced wheat breeding to deliver substantial value-added products, GBA is acclaimed nationally and internationally.
Dr Fox said GBA could swiftly combine favourable characteristics by growing two cycles of breeding material a year and using fast-track technologies, such as doubled haploids and single seed descent.
³An aggressive crossing program is now reassembling the best of the first wave of GBA material and strengthening the product stream by introducing favourable new genes from overseas," he said.
³Just behind the first four GBA hard wheats are parallel product pipelines based on noodle, soft and durum wheat types.²
Dr Fox said GBA would continue to lead the way as an Australian centre of excellence for wheat improvement through molecular biology, coupled with world-class plant breeding, to deliver varieties which improved productivity, lowered production risks and offered superior qualities for particular markets.