Canadian Wheat Alliance signs with private partners

Breeding technology The project will give breeders more genetic material to speed new variety development

A consortium of publicly funded research institutions has signed a new research agreement with two private sector plant breeding companies.

KWS and Syngenta Inc. will work with the Canadian Wheat Alliance to improve a wheat breeding technique known as doubled haploid technology.

The collaborative project is a four-year deal with an estimated price tag of $2.5 million.

Monetary and in-kind funding for the project will come from the two private sector partners and the alliance’s publicly funded research partners, including the University of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan government, the National Research Council and Agriculture Canada.

Additional financial support will be provided by the Western Grains Research Foundation.

Doubled haploid technology exposes immature grain to treatments that double the genetic material available to plant breeders.

Breeders can use the technology to reduce the amount of time required to bring new varieties to market.

Existing methods of developing doubled haploid wheat plants can be costly, inconsistent and time-consuming.

The wheat alliance, KWS and Syngenta are looking for ways to produce doubled haploid wheat plants more quickly and more efficiently.

They will eventually use the new doubled haploid technology in their wheat breeding programs, which is expected to benefit agricultural productivity in Canada and abroad.

“A partnership to shorten the breeding cycle and bring novel varieties quicker to market with international wheat plant and breeding experts from KWS and Syngenta will allow us to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Canadian Wheat Alliance,” said Faouzi Bekkaoui, executive director of the National Research Council of Canada’s Wheat Improvement Flagship Program.

“We strive to improve the yield, production, sustainability and profitability of Canadian wheat for the benefit of our farmers and our economy.”

The alliance aims to combine expertise and resources of research institutions with investments and resources from outside organizations, including private industry.

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