High-throughput omics approaches for effective breeding selection of durum wheat quality

  • Term: 3 years, beginning in 2017

  • Funding Amount: $ 146,444

  • Lead Researcher(s): Wentao Zhang, National Research Council, Canada

  • Funding Partners: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture - Agriculture Development Fund (ADF)

Project Description

This project will focus on genetic and genomic approaches to predict quality parameters including protein content, yellow pigment content (YPC) and milling quality in durum which will enable larger scale selections for those traits at earlier generations of breeding programs and ultimately accelerate the breeding programs on improving durum wheat quality.

Canadian wheat has an excellent reputation and brand for high quality wheat such as CWRS bread wheat and durum that have optimal high protein content and gluten strength. Although protein content has been routinely selected in breeding program, protein content may or may not be indicative of protein quality despite the significant correlation between the content and quality. In addition to protein content and compositions, milling performance and YPC are also key quality traits contributing to the durum wheat quality. Improvement on YPC is targeted due to the global demand for the bright color of semolina and pasta product. Though major gene (psy) associated with YPC had been identified, the most effectiveness of YPC alleles or the allele combination are still not very clear.

Therefore, this project will also focus on characterization of YPC within Canadian breeding program with “omics” approach to identify the most effective alleles or allele combination for YPC improvement. The objectives include, defining a reference proteome map of Canadian durum wheat for quality improvement, identification of QTLs and alleles controlling protein composition, yellow pigment content (YPC) and milling quality, and developing KASPar (Kompetitive Allele Specific PCR) based marker to practice marker assisted selection. In addition, the model developed from this project will be applied to the more complex Canadian bread wheat class, CWRS for future project.

The deliverables from this project also ensure that the Saskatchewan wheat production meets key targets of the growth plan by 2020 and will help support sustainable Saskatchewan / Prairie agricultural economy.