Wheat is the most important crop for global food security, as it supplies the most calories and proteins to the global population. Wheat is also grown on more land area than any other commercial crop. Meeting the challenge of increasing wheat production to match the growing demand for food over the next 20–30 years is critical. Current yield gains (~0.67% per year) are impressive but will not meet the need (1.6-1.8%) of a growing global population and may become unsustainable due to lack of new genetic diversity. To meet these challenges, Genome Canada funded Dr. Curtis Pozniak and his Canadian Triticum Applied Genomics (CTAG2) team in the application of genomic tools to advance diversity in wheat breeding.
Canada, under the leadership of the CTAG2 team, subsequently took part in an international collaboration that generated the most comprehensive atlas of wheat genome sequences ever reported. The 10+ Genome Project involved more than 95 scientists from universities and institutes in Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, the U.K., Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Israel, Australia and the U.S. The findings are enabling scientists and breeders to more quickly identify influential genes for improved yield, pest resistance and other important crop traits. This will help meet future food demands in Canada and across the globe, and strengthen Canada’s export advantage in wheat. The study, which sequenced the genomes of 15 wheat varieties, is the start of a larger effort to generate thousands of genome sequences, including genetic material brought in from wheat’s wild relatives.
In partnership with Genome Prairie