Genome Prairie


Securing the Future of Wheat in Canada

Wheat is a staple food crop that contributes about $4 billion annually to the Canadian farm industry and a total value of about $11 billion when value-added food processing is considered. The Canadian Triticum Advancement Through Genomics (CTAG) project is aimed at developing genomic tools and increasing genomic capacity in Canadian wheat breeding programs. Currently, most Canadian breeding programs utilize some genomics technology to improve selection efficiency but the full capabilities of this technology are not being realized. The advent of new genomic sequencing technologies is enabling geneticists and breeders to characterize genes at the most fundamental level – the DNA sequence. The wheat DNA sequence holds the key to genetic improvements that will allow growers to meet increasing demands for high quality food and feed produced in a responsible, sustainable and profitable manner.

The CTAG project represents Canada’s contribution to the sequencing effort led by the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium.  The consortium’s efforts related to the development of genetic platforms in wheat are being conducted in both the public and private sector.

Research ResultsResearch Results

Initiated in July 2011, the CTAG project has four major activities. The preliminary activity will be to generate the first high quality sequence of chromosome 6D in wheat. The second part of this project will be to perform targeted sequencing of Canada’s most important wheat varieties. A comprehensive list of genetic mapping populations has been assembled which, as a third component, will enable the discovery of markers with relevant traits to Canadian wheat breeding programs. The fourth project activity will examine the role of public-private partnerships in wheat genomics and breeding research. This investigation into public-private partnerships is timely because private investment in wheat genomics and breeding is on the rise.

Watch an interview with Project Leader, Dr. Curtis Pozniak - from FCCTV Online.

Notable OutcomesNotable Outcomes

  • The project team has completed an initial survey sequence of chromosome 6D as part of the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium.
  • The CTAG project has worked with other international research partners to develop a first generation capture system which will enable the sequencing of targeted genes within the wheat genome.

Quick Facts

Project Leaders:

Curtis Pozniak, University of Saskatchewan
Pierre Hucl, University of Saskatchewan

Project Manager:

Chris Barker, Genome Prairie

Project Value:

$8.5 Million

Genome Canada Contribution:

$4.1 Million

Provincial Funding (SK):

$1.5 Million

Other Funding Partners:

$2.9 Million

Project Status:

Ongoing (2011 – 2015)


Genome Canada 2010 Large Scale Applied Research Project Competition