Acceleration of the Breeding Program for Winter Wheat

  • Alison M. R. FerrieEmail author
  • Patricia L. Polowick


Under the conditions of a changing climate, an increasing population and evolution by plant diseases to overcome disease resistance, there is a need for plant breeders to have the means for quick adaptation in new crop varieties. This report describes two approaches that can help plant breeders hasten cultivar development for winter wheat. Doubled haploidy (DH) methodology using isolated microspores, suitable for a wide range of genotypes, has been developed and is described. This method can produce up to 276 green plantlets per spike. Doubled haploidy, which provides homozygous lines in one generation, can be used to reduce the time to release a cultivar by at least 3 years. Accelerated breeding, which utilizes prolonged day length and embryo rescue to preclude seed maturation, as well as other stressors, has been shown to reduce the generation time of winter wheat to 16–18 weeks. It can be used for the introgression of traits in combination with modern genomic breeding approaches. It shows the potential to reduce the development of cultivars using six generations of backcrossing with gene introgression by 2 years. Both DH methodology and accelerated/speed breeding are being used now to develop new cultivars.


Androgenesis Doubled haploid Embryogenesis Microspore culture Speed/accelerated breeding Winter wheat 



The authors acknowledge Hung-Mei Wang, Jean Enns, Jen Brost, Kim Nelson and Tryston Orr for their work on the wheat doubled haploidy protocol development and Tancey Melchkart, Andrea Todd and Yongguo Cao for their work with the accelerated breeding project and protocol development.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Research CouncilSaskatoonCanada

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