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Canadian Triticum Applied Genomics (CTAG2)

2014 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition – Genomics and Feeding the Future
Agriculture and Agri Food
Genome Centre(s):
Genome Prairie
Project Leader(s):
Curtis Pozniak (University of Saskatchewan), Andrew Sharpe (National Research Council Canada)
Fiscal Year Project Launched: 
Project Description: 

Wheat accounts for a staggering 20 per cent of all calories consumed throughout the  world. As global population grows, so too does its dependence on wheat. To meet  future demands, productivity for wheat needs to increase by 1.6 per cent each year – at  the same time as climate change is causing temperature and precipitation changes that  challenge established patterns. There is, in addition, a need to ensure that productivity  increases are achieved sustainably to ensure the long­term stability of the wheatgrowing industry.

In Canada, wheat accounts for more than $4.5 billion in annual sales and, when valueadded processing is factored in, adds more than $11 billion each year to the Canadian  economy. Dr. Curtis Pozniak of the University of Saskatchewan is leading the CTAG2 team, with scientists participating from five Canadian research institutions:  The National  Research Council of Canada, Agriculture and Agri­Food Canada, University of Guelph,  and the University of Regina.  The emphasis of CTAG2  is to conduct research to better  understand the wheat genome and to apply this research to develop genetic markers  and predictive genetic tests to improve selection efficiency in Canadian wheat breeding  programs. The CTAG2  team will work with the International Wheat Genome Sequencing  Consortium to generate a high quality reference of chromosome 2B of wheat and drive  innovation in wheat breeding by developing genomic strategies to improve utilization of  untapped genetic variation from related species.  The end result will be the development  of tools and strategies for wheat breeders to develop improved cultivars that are more  productive and resistant to disease and pests, and resilient to heat and drought  stresses. These cultivars will enable wheat farmers to ensure that their product is more  productive, profitable and environmentally sustainable.  

The project is part of an international collaboration to sequence the entire wheat  genome and to characterize genetic variation influencing critical traits targeted by wheat  breeders in Canada.