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$5.6M funding supports international wheat genomics project


Regina, SK – A total of $5.6 million in research funding will support research by Saskatchewan scientists into new wheat varieties. The project will be managed by Genome Prairie and is part of the $8.5 million Canadian Triticum Advancement through Genomics (CTAG) project. It will also represent Canada’s contribution to the new international sequencing effort led by the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWSWG).

The three-year CTAG project aims to enable geneticists and breeders to characterize the genes at the most fundamental level: the DNA sequence. The wheat DNA sequence holds the key to genetic improvements, allowing growers to meet the increasing demands for high quality food and feed produced in an environmentally sensitive, sustainable and profitable manner.

Research in Saskatchewan will be lead by Drs Curtis Pozniak and Pierre Hucl, the province’s Ministry of Agriculture’s Strategic Research Chairs, working out of the Crop Development Centre at the University of Saskatchewan.

“This research is timely and necessary, and supports other international efforts in providing Canadian wheat breeders with tools and resources to accelerate wheat improvement to meet the global challenge of increased food production,” said Wilf Keller, Genome Prairie’s president and CEO.

Funding partners for the project include the federal and Saskatchewan provincial governments, Western Grains Research Foundation, Viterra, Genome Alberta, the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund, France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research and India’s National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute.

“Research is vital to the growth of our industry,” said Geoffrey Hewson, Western Canadian Wheat Growers Saskatchewan’s vice-president. “This project will lead to new and improved wheat varieties that will benefit producers for years to come.”