AWC - Funded Research

Canadian Wheat-NAM (Can-NAM): Capturing genetic variation for Canadian wheat improvement

AWC contribution: $225,000


To increase the genetic diversity of the Canadian wheat pool, this research proposes to utilize a proven strategy, nested association mapping (NAM), a multiple-parental breeding population approach to explore synthetic hexaploid wheat (SHW) to enhance germplasm for Canadian wheat improvement. SHW is created by crossing tetraploid durum wheat with diploid Aegilops tauschii, commonly known as goat grass; this can provide favorable new alleles for the wheat gene pool. The project will develop an appropriate genetic resource, and enable the maximum utilization of advanced genomics technologies to boost the genetic gain on wheat yield.

Benefit to producers:

The pre-breeding lines with favorable alleles from this project will have the potential to be delivered to the AAFC and UofS CDC breeding programs and other Canadian collaborators to diversify the wheat gene pool. The tightly linked markers help breeders to introgress new favorable alleles into commercial varieties. The NAM platform, SNP markers, high resolution NAM genetic map, will be made available to the wheat research community for rust and FHB resistance. Together, these will allow for a broader genetic base for the Canadian wheat gene pool, creating more diversifying wheat cultivars in the future.


Dr. Andrew Sharpe received his BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Leicester, UK in 1988 and his PhD in Plant Genetics from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK in 1997 while working at the John Innes Centre.  He has significant experience in plant genetics and genomics throughout his career both at the National Research Council Canada (since 2008) and previously at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Saskatoon.