DNA Technology Identified as Alternative to Visual Identification of Wheat Varieties

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2250. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.
calendar icon 19 September 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

Farm-Scape, Episode 2250

A Montreal based genomics firm is confident DNA technology holds the key to determining wheat variety without the need for visual identification.

In hopes of eliminating the need for regulations which prohibit the registration of wheat varieties which appear similar Canada Western Red Spring or Canada Western Amber Durum, several organizations are seeking alternatives to visual identification.

One such project, being conducted by DNA LandMarks in partnership with the Canadian Grain Commission with funding provided by the Manitoba Rural Adaptation Council looks at DNA marker analysis in individual kernels.

DNA LandMarks business development manager Charles Pick explains one of the things genetic markers can be used for is to identify uniqueness in varieties so it becomes an alternative to kernel visual distinguishability.

Everything has it's own unique genetic fingerprint and people you see it mostly with things like forensics and stuff like that but it's used a lot in plant breeding and plant research distinguishing one variety from another.

Typically what we would do is, we have a library of genetic markers for wheat that have been developed.

These are publicly available genetic markers and we'll run the same set of markers on all of the commercially available wheat varieties in western Canada.

Each one will generate a unique fingerprint and that will go into a database that correlates back to the varieties.

Going forward, in order to determine which variety the kernel belongs to, you can extract DNA from it and compare it to the database and you'd be able to come up with exactly what variety it is."

Pick says, with the right equipment, modern DNA analysis can be done fairly quickly.

He suggests down the road, as these technologies become more portable and user friendly, it could be possible to conduct the analysis right in the field.

Staff Farmscape.Ca

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