$8.8 million has been committed to a Western Canadian research project aims to help wheat breeders select important agronomic traits more efficiently.
The Alberta Wheat Commission, the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission and the Western Grains Research Foundation announced Thursday they are contributing a combined $3.6 million over four years to the Saskatchewan-based research.
Titled “Canadian Triticum Applied Genomics” (CTAG2), the work will be led by Dr. Curtis Pozniak of the University of Saskatchewan and Dr. Andrew Sharpe of the National Research Council of Canada. Other scientists with the National Research Council Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, University of Guelph, and the University of Regina will also be participating.
“This research will result in a value-added breeding model in Western Canada,” said Kent Erickson, AWC chairman. “By enhancing innovation in breeding techniques, scientists will be better equipped to develop high quality wheat varieties that result in better returns for farmers.”
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Tom Steve, general manager of the Alberta Wheat Commission, in interview with RealAgriculture’s Debra Murphy.
The rest of the funding for CTAG2 is coming from the Agriculture Development Fund/Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, Manitoba Agriculture, Genome Canada, Viterra, SeCan, University of Guelph, DuPont Pioneer, Bayer CropScience, and the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC).
The CTAG2 team will be working with the IWGSC to better understand the wheat genome and use untapped genetic variations from related species.
One of the primary goals is to create a “breeder-friendly” genotyping platform based on genetic markers and predictive genetic testing that will improve selection efficiency.