||The application of biotechn'ology to crop improvement has been the focus of much research around the world. Tissue culture and selection of somaclonal variation were developed many years ago, followed more recently by molecular markers and genetic engineering. This meeting focused on providing updates on the actual successes to date on the application of several areas of biotechnology to wheat improvement. What is clear is that there continues to be optimism regarding the potential for biotechnology to be applied to wheat improvement. It is also noteworthy that as was predicted by many scientists, many approaches are proving more difficult in wheat than in other crops. Molecular markers, for example, are difficult to apply routinely given the large genome, hexaploid genetics, and lower levels of polymorphisms. New marker systems such as AFLPs and microsatellites are an improvement over previous RFLPs, but still require significant investments to achieve similar results possible in other, more amenable species What is encouraging are the successes to identify the genetics of complex traits in wheat such as quality, Fusarium and rust resistance. Some of these will surely provide useful applications in wheat improvement and all mapping efforts provide critical genetic information for further studies at the gene level. These will be increasingly important as genomic approaches (gene expression, proteomics, etc.) become available and are applied to wheat. In many ways, these latest genomics approaches should be more 'genome independent' and thus readily applicable to large, complex genome species such as wheat. Coupled with the relatively easy ability to produce doubled haploids, wheat may prove to be an extremely important species for genomic studies. In addition to the molecular tools available, wheat has been amenable to genetic engineering. Transformed lines with altered quality and pathogen resistant are available and may provide useful materials for breeding programs. While there will be many possible applicatio s of genetic engineering to wheat improvement, the availability of the high-throughput transformation methods will be extremely valuable for studying gene expression via genomics. An efficient transformation system is critical to fully study and understand the genetic basis of most characteristics, and wheat appears to be a relatively easy species to transform. Why hasn't biotechnology been more incorporated into wheat research and breeding programs? The technology-associated issues above provide some of the reasons. Others included the availability of funds, which even in developed countries, are often directed to other, more seemingly, easier species. In addition, private sector investment has focused more on commercially important crops such as maize, soybeans and cotton. Technologies developed for these species are now being applied in wheat research. Finally, intellectual property, while not limited to wheat, seems to complicate all scientists' lives and research programs. Clearly, intellectual property ill not disappear and may not become less complicated for several years. Thus, all scientists and research institutes, both the in developed and developing countries, must learn how to deal with the various issues involved. Often the actual process of IP management and negotiation is much easier than thought, and the real difficulty is deciding to delve into the area. What may be most critical for future applications of biotechnology is to seriously consider the environment necessary to ensure that the tools of biotechnology can be used. This will require countries and institutions to adopt appropriate regulatory and biosafety procedures that provide required safety assurance without overly complicating the procedures to follow. In addition, many persons, scientists included, are not fully aware of the technologies biotechnology has to offer nor even the science behind them and, thus, are critical from a point of ignorance. Public awareness and education of all stakeholders are a must if those who need the pr ducts of biotechnology are to receive them in time, if at all. I am confident that biotechnology is critical to ensure the continued yield and quality gains in wheat, and that we will see in the near future practical results of the hard efforts outlined in this workshop. CIMMYT remains committed to using all tools available and to helping our partners around the world, especially in developing countries, to understand the possibilities and where appropriate, to apply these in their programs.