Genetic Improvement Networks

Funded by Defra, the Genetic Improvement Networks (GINs) generate pre-breeding material that carries novel, profitable and sustainable traits.

Collaborative research is at the heart of the networks, to ensure efforts are placed on key traits and the material produced (genetic and knowledge) is accessible to breeders.

Annual meetings

Each year, the GINs hold stakeholder meetings to share the latest developments with anyone interested in crop genetics. Usually, these take place in autumn. However, in response to COVID-19, a different approach is required. Keep an eye on their websites for times, dates, locations and programme information.

Wheat Genetic Improvement Network (WGIN)

Next/recent meeting 

8 February 2024 (The John Innes Centre, Norwich, and online)

The annual WGIN stakeholders' meeting took place in February, with videos now available to watch on the WGIN website.  The 2024 WGIN meeting included interviews with two high-profile farmers, a lively panel discussion on the implications of climate change for wheat breeding and numerous presentations on wheat genetics.

View the PDF presentations

Part one video: covers markets, BYDV, hotter climates and sustainable wheat

Part two video: covers nutritional quality and crop growth

Part three video: covers climate change (with farmers’ perspectives)

Part four video: panel discussion

Visit the Wheat Genetic Improvement Network website

Oilseed Rape Genetic Improvement Network (OREGIN)

Next/recent meeting 

16 October 2023 (University of Warwick, Wellesbourne)

Visit the Oilseed Rape Genetic Improvement Network website

Pulse Crop Genetic Improvement Network (PCGIN)

Next/recent meeting

15 February 2024 (University of Reading)

Visit the Pulse Crop Genetic Improvement Network website

Vegetable Genetic Improvement Network (VeGIN)

Next/recent meeting

17 October 2023 (University of Warwick, Wellesbourne)

Visit the Vegetable Genetic Improvement Network website

Germplasm journey (articles about the GINS)

While the problems facing growers may make it tempting to reach for the gin, plant breeders are finding that GINs are actually providing the answers. CPM takes the top off VeGIN and gets a taster of what’s inside.

Vegetable GIN solutions (CPM article, October 2021)

Collaborative research has long been the backbone of a Defra-funded breeding programme that has responded to the challenges facing oilseed rape growers. CPM explores the programme’s current focus.

The OREGIN of resilience? (CPM article, July 2020)

Massive demand for plant-based protein puts the spotlight on peas and beans to deliver for the UK market. CPM delves into the research aimed at putting varieties on farm that will meet the challenge.

Reach for the [PC] GIN (CPM article, July 2020)

The Genetic Improvement Networks have revolutionised plant breeding in the UK. CPM reports on the achievements of the GINs and how they will contribute to the varieties of the future.

GINs provide shot in the arm (CPM article, July 2017)

While the Recommended Lists represent the most significant part of AHDB activity on varieties, the lifeblood of new lines lies in breeding and pre-breeding research. CPM tracks its history and prospects.

Germplasm journey (CPM article, November 2015)