David Alexander Fife immigrated from Scotland to Canada in 1820. In 1842, he received grain from a friend in Glascow that had come from Poland. This wheat was believed to be a relative to the Halychanka Wheat, which originated in the Ukraine. By 1848, he had carefully preserved and accumulated 240 bushels of seed. By the end of the 19th century this new variety became the world’s best spring wheat. It was called Red Fife.
Original vs. Hybrid
Red Fife became the parent, foundation, or basis of many modern hybrid wheat varieties today. Since then, wheat varieties have undergone a lot of hybridization or plant breeding. Plant breeders have sought to create varieties that produce higher yields with longer storage capacities. They had sought to create wheat varieties that are more pest resistant, disease resistant, and drought resistant.
But there are concerns of losing nutritional value for the sake of higher yields. More than that, many believe that this mass hybridization in wheat has caused the increase of gluten sensitivity we see today. Agricultural geneticists have shown that wheat proteins have undergone structural change with hybridization. In fact, these hybrid wheat berries contain proteins that are not found in the parent plant.