Targeted and Useful Genomics for Barley and Oat (Tugboat)?

Principal Investigator: Jaswinder Singh
Theme : Agriculture and Bioproducts
Competition : 2019 Competition: Partnership – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
Status : In progress
Start : Jan. 1, 2020
End: Dec. 31, 2023
Budget : $1,622,455.00

Barley and oat crops generate significant revenue (approximately $2.0 Billion per year) for Canadian farms and industry.  While both crops are used primarily for animal feed, their use for food and malt are increasingly important and generate substantial secondary value. Both barley and oat are consumed as whole grains and/or whole-grain ingredients and provide high levels of soluble fibre in the form of ß-glucan: a compound recognized by Canadian, US and European health agencies as a factor in lowering blood cholesterol.

Currently, most Canadian varieties of barley and oat are developed through time-consuming traditional breeding techniques. In this project, we are capitalizing on modern genome science and genomics-assisted breeding approaches to significantly improve crops with qualities needed to meet 21st century demands. While genomic resources for barley and oat lag behind other crops, recent advances in genome sequencing and bioinformatics can narrow this gap.  This collaborative project is focused on generating genomic resources in both oat and barley to:  a) fill gaps in reference genome sequences, develop data and expertise to respond to new opportunities in pan-genome analysis, and build a Canadian resource to respond quickly and efficiently to opportunities in comparative structural and functional genomics; b) expand knowledge of functional genome diversity by expanding marker- and sequence-based analysis of germplasm that is representative of adapted Canadian varieties and potential donor genotypes; and c) implement genomic selection (GS) in parallel with conventional breeding, optimizing existing technology, shared data sets, and human resources. Our genomic and data resources will provide easy-to- ccess information that breeders need to improve crop performance. Furthermore, the trait data that is generated for GS will feed back into improved strategies for gene identification.  i.e. “genomics assisted breeding” becomes “breeding-assisted genomics”, completing a symbiotic loop that will further accelerate opportunities for Canadian crop enhancement. Development of these world-class approaches for barley and oat improvement will further expand our competitive international position.


Lead Genome Centre: Génome Québec


Partners: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAC), Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA), Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA), Université McGill



Nicholas Tinker Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAC)
Ana Badea Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAC)