Seed World

Wheat Commissions Invest to Better Understand Wheat’s Genetic Potential


The prairie wheat commissions – Alberta Wheat Commission, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission and Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association – are pleased to announce a combined investment of more than $1.9 million over four years in cutting edge research that will accelerate the future development of higher yielding, stress resistant wheat varieties for Canadian farmers.

This producer funding is part of a larger investment of $11.2 million which Genome Canada announced earlier today. Along with Genome Canada’s investment, funding partners also include Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Western Grains Research Foundation and a number of industry partners. Funding for this project is being administered by Genome Prairie.

Led by Drs. Curtis Pozniak and Sylvie Cloutier and known as 4D Wheat: Diversity, Domestication, Discovery and Delivery, this research will utilize wild-wheat relatives and elite germplasm along with industry-leading genomic techniques to better understand wheat’s genetic potential. The study will also examine the economics and policies of using wild-wheat germplasm sources and germplasm from international sources.

Pozniak and Cloutier’s work will be based out of the Crop Development Centre at the University of Saskatchewan and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Ottawa Research & Development Centre respectively.

“The outcomes of Dr. Pozniak’s work will result in diversified resources available to wheat breeders,” said Janine Paly, Alberta Wheat Commission research chair. “By delivering new and useful genetic material for breeders to work with, this project could be the catalyst for subsequent high yielding and stress resistant varieties to come into the marketplace, in-turn improving farm-gate profitability.”

“The ground-breaking research that saw the sequencing of the wheat genome will now take the next steps in developing wheat varieties that are genetically superior, adapted to delivering higher yields and able to thrive in the stresses of the Canadian environment,” said Laura Reiter, Sask Wheat Chair. “Sask Wheat is excited to invest $1 million of producer money in this project, as it is cutting-edge research that will bring higher returns for producers.”

“Canadian growers are continually challenged to produce quality wheat under highly variable weather conditions,” said Fred Greig, Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association chair. “Using their knowledge of the wheat genome and Canadian wheat variety development, Drs. Pozniak and Cloutier will design and test systems that can more quickly move new high yield and climate resilience traits into agronomically adapted varieties to benefit wheat producers.”