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The International Wheat Information System™

opens the door to a wealth of information on wheat genetic resources for researchers who are collecting, conserving and improving wheat for   poor farmers of the developing world. 

What Is IWIS?

IWIS™ is a system that manages and integrates diverse information pertaining to bread wheat, durum wheat and triticale. The body of data on these crops is large and intricate. By providing a common language to identify individual wheat and triticale germplasm uniquely, IWIS seamlessly joins conservation, utilization and exchange of genetic material. IWIS is software and information to:

  • Add value to seed by linking it to extensive genealogical and performance data.
  • Empower national programs by making data from many countries fully available.
  • Link islands of data from wheat research around the world.
  • Integrate disciplines by placing data from diverse sources in a single database.
  • Supply the essential knowledge base for wheat improvement.


A wealth of wheat genetic resources has accumulated in many venues, incuding research centers and laboratories around the the world. Genebanks maintain volumes of data on specific traits, places of origin, and performance of the wheats they conserve. An enormous amount of data was gathered through international wheat trials begun in the 1950s. Over the years, the trials have included thousands of wheats and produced invaluable data that, until now, were difficult to interpret and use.

By providing each wheat with a unique identifier, IWIS brings together this widely varied information from national trials. Using the IWIS identifier, scientists, breeders, genebank curators, physiologists, and cereal chemists can pinpoint a particular wheat despite its numerous names, trace its family tree, and then explore what is known about the material.

IWIS in General

IWIS has three major components: the Wheat Genealogy Management System (IWIS3-GMS), which assigns and maintains unique identifiers and genealogies, the Wheat Data Management System (IWIS3-DMS), which manages results from field and laboratory studies and data on known genes and the Wheat Gene Management System (IWIS3-GEMS), which assigns and maintains unique identifiers  to known genes and markers and their corresponding alleles. IWIS:

  • Provides quick options for managing and searching wheat data.
  • Gathers information from genebanks, laboratories, and field tests so that researchers can put it to work in plant improvement programs.
  • Through a unique identifier that traces the ancestry of individual wheats, makes it possible to estimate the degree of relatedness among wheats.
  • Allows breeders to increase genetic diversity by selecting materials of divergent parentage for crosses, thereby reducing wheat's vulnerability to disease, climate change, and other stresses.
  • Updates family trees as additional data on ancestry become available.
  • Helps researchers avoid duplication of expensive evaluations.

Who Benefits from IWIS?

The immediate beneficiaries of IWIS are crop scientists in national agricultural research programs and other research institutions, who can now readily locate, access, and obtain information needed for research.

The International Crop Information System (ICIS)

IWIS has given rise to a collaborative project between CIMMYT and other institutions, including IRRI, AAFC, UQ and ICARDA aimed at developing the International Crop Information System (ICIS). The IWIS is now migrated to ICIS platform which facilitates distribution to partners and collaborators and integration of their data.

Projects using IWIS Database

CAIGE Project
AIMBP Project (India)
AIMBP Project (University of Sydney)

A prototype portal Germplasm Viewer is now available.

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