Canadian Grain Commission researchers help unlock genetic code for 15 wheat varieties

From: Canadian Grain Commission

The project was a major international effort and was led by Dr. Curtis Pozniak at the University of Saskatchewan. Canadian Grain Commission researcher and microbiology program manager, Dr. Sean Walkowiak, is a primary author of the report on the discovery, Multiple Wheat Genomes Reveal Global Variation in Modern Breeding , published in the journal Nature. Dr. Bin Xiao Fu, manager of the Canadian Grain Commission’s Bread wheat and durum research program, also contributed to the project by comparing the wheat cultivars from global breeding programs.

By mapping multiple wheat genomes, scientists now have a better understanding of the extensive genetic diversity available in wheat that can be used to accelerate the improvement of wheat production and quality in Canada and around the world.


“The genome resources developed from this project will bring a major boost to wheat research and breeding, both in Canada and internationally.”

Dr. Sean Walkowiak, primary author and Program manager, Microbiology

Canadian Grain Commission

“We would like to congratulate the University of Saskatchewan on achieving this breakthrough in agricultural science. This landmark discovery will accelerate the creation of better varieties, while supporting sustainable wheat production and increasing profitability for Canadian wheat producers.”

Doug Chorney, Acting Chief Commissioner

Canadian Grain Commission

Quick facts

  • Led by the University of Saskatchewan, the 10+ Wheat Genome Project is a global partnership that involves nearly 100 scientists from universities and institutes in Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Israel, Australia and the United States.

  • Wheat currently provides about 20% of human caloric intake globally. It’s estimated that wheat production must increase by more than 50 percent over current levels by 2050 to meet an increasing global demand.

  • The bread wheat genome is 5 times larger than the human genome and is one of the most complex genomes among crops.

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