To develop genomic tools and increase genomic capacity to enhance cereal breeding in Canada.
Marker?assisted breeding provides an opportunity for wheat breeders to select for important genes well before breeding lines advance to expensive yield and disease nursery testing. In the past five years, new molecular marker assays have become available that allow for more rapid screening of breeding lines. The goal of this research was to convert existing, lower throughput DNA marker technologies to more rapid screening protocols with the aim to improve the efficacy of selection and speed the release of cultivars to western Canadian producers. Specifically we designed high-throughput DNA marker assays for genes associated with agronomic adaptation, disease resistance and end-use quality. The technologies developed here will result in earlier selection of breeding lines via marker assisted selection and targeting a greater portion of the breeding program to fix desirable genes much earlier in the breeding program. This will ultimately result in improved efficiency of field testing by ensuring only those lines with useful genes are advanced for detailed evaluation in the field. The end result is that Canadian cereal breeders will be able to respond more quickly and efficiently to traits desirable to producers (production, quality and disease resistance traits) and market traits that allow access to premium, high quality export markets. Because farmers rely heavily on new genetics, any acceleration of the cycle of crop development and precision will bring significant gains for the entire value chain and stakeholders.