ReproductionModern wheat varieties have short stems, the result of RHt dwarfing genes that reduce the
plant's sensitivity to gibberellic acid, a plant hormone that lengthens cells. RHt genes were introduced to modern wheat varieties in the 1960s by Norman Borlaug from Norin 10 cultivars of wheat grown in Japan. Short stems are important because the application of high levels of chemical fertilizers would otherwise cause the stems to grow too high, resulting in lodging . Stem heights are also even, which is important for modern harvesting techniques.
EvolutionBread wheat is an allohexaploid . Free-threshing wheat is closely related to spelt. As with spelt, genes contributed from goatgrass give bread wheat greater cold hardiness than most wheats, and it is cultivated throughout the world's temperate regions.
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Common wheat was first domesticated in Western Asia during the early Holocene, and spread from there to North Africa, Europe and East Asia in the prehistoric period.
Wheat first reached North America with Spanish missions in the 16th century, but North America's role as a major exporter of grain dates from the colonization of the prairies in the 1870s. As grain exports from Russia ceased in the First World War, grain production in Kansas doubled. Worldwide, bread wheat has proved well adapted to modern industrial baking, and has displaced many of the other wheat, barley, and rye species that were once commonly used for bread making, particularly in Europe.
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