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2-Plants: Non-GE fusarium-tolerant wheat developed in Canada

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SOURCE: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
DATE:   Nov 19, 2002

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OTTAWA, Ontario, Nov. 19, 2002  Eastern Canadian producers can now benefit 
from a new wheat cultivar with increased tolerance to Fusarium head blight, 
a fungal disease which has cost the Canadian agri-food industry hundreds of 
millions of dollars.

The new line, a soft red winter wheat often used for pastries, exhibits 
nearly four-times fewer mycotoxins when exposed to the fungus, than other 
wheat varieties on the market. The level of mycotoxins present in wheat can 
greatly affect yields, as well as grade and market value.

The line has been approved by the Ontario Cereal Crops Committee, and 
registered for production in Eastern Canada under the name Wonder . The 
line was developed by scientists with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 
(AAFC) in Ottawa and Hyland Seeds in Blenheim, Ontario. The development of 
Wonder was led by Dr. Radhey Pandeya of the Eastern Cereal and Oilseed 
Research Centre, and Hyland cereal breeders.

"Wonder is a major step forward in the battle against Fusarium and a good 
example of the type of innovation that can be achieved when government and 
industry work together," said Dr. Pandeya. "Fusarium has cost the Canadian 
agri-food industry hundreds of millions of dollars over the past 20 years, 
and our scientists in Western Canada are continuing efforts to develop 
similar varieties conducive to growing in that region."

Investments in research and development are a key priority of the 
Agricultural Policy Framework, a comprehensive plan developed with the 
provinces and industry to make Canada a world leader in food safety and 
food quality, environmentally responsible production and innovation.

"To our knowledge Wonder is the first Fusarium-tolerant pastry wheat on the 
market," said Henry Olechowski, research director with Hyland Seeds. "The 
new variety is sure to be welcome news to growers as Fusarium head blight 
is an ongoing concern in Eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States."

This project was funded under a Matching Investment Initiative (MII) in 
partnership with Hyland Seeds, a division of W.G. Thompson and Sons Ltd.

The MII is a federal program that aims to increase collaborative research 
activity between the private sector and AAFC by matching the contribution 
of an industry investment in research and development.

Wonder is expected to be in full commercial production by 2004.

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For more information, media may contact: Media Relations Agriculture and 
Agri-Food Canada Ottawa, Ontario (613) 759-7972

Henry Olechowski Research Director, Hyland Seeds Blenheim, Ontario (519) 
359-4468 1-800-265-7403


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