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Oat genetic improvement

Principal Investigator: Weikai Yan

Research Institution: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Timeline: April 2013 – March 2018

Objectives:

  • Develop new oat cultivars and varieties with improved yield and quality for eastern Canada.
  • Determine the effects of agronomic practices like nitrogen fertilizer application and plant density on oat grain yield and quality.
  • Test and implement genomic selection for use in early genetic screening for oat quality, disease resistance and agronomic traits.
  • Identify oat breeding lines resistant to crown rust races.

Impacts:

  • Seven new oat cultivars were released and licensed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to seed companies from 2014 to 2017.
    • Three cultivars (AAC Banner, AAC Torrent and OA1426-2) were bred for crown rust resistance and have superior to good resistance to crown rust.
  • Two new oat cultivars were released in 2018.
  • Three additional lines (OA1453-2, OA14444-4 and OA1439-1) are expected to be released in future years and have superior to good resistance to crown rust.
  • Genomic selection was introduced to oat breeding for the first time taking genetic oat selection to a new level offering the potential for a new streamlined selection method for early generation selection that is not affected by environmental factors.

Scientific Summary:

Results:

Variety Development

Seven new oat cultivars were released and licensed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to seed companies from 2014 to 2017. Two new oat cultivars were released in 2018.

VarietyYear releasedLicensed toCharacteristics Qualities
AAC Nicolas2014Secan    High yields across eastern Canada18% higher yield than official checks in the 2013-2017 Quebec provincial trialsHigher groat and beta-glucan levelsIncluded on PepsiCo/Quaker recommended variety list
AAC Pontiac2015SemiCanShort, lodging resistant and rust resistant Good milling qualityGood yield in southern Ontario
AAC Blake2015SeCanHigh yieldModerately high beta-glucan
AAC Noranda2015SemiCan5% beta-glucan levels combined with good yield and groat levels One of the highest yielding cultivars in northern OntarioIncluded on PepsiCo/Quaker recommended variety list
AAC Kolosse2015William HoudeExceptionally good lodging resistance combined with good levels of yield, groat content, and crown rust resistanceSuperior performance in southern Ontario
AAC Banner2017SeCan5% beta-glucan levels combined with good yield and groat levelsSuperior crown rust resistance, resistance to lodging and stem breakage Included on PepsiCo/Quaker recommended variety list
AAC Torrent (OA1395-1)2017Advantage Seeds5% beta-glucan levels combined with high yield and groat levels20% higher yield than official checks in 2017 Quebec provincial trials Resistance to lodging and stem breakageIncluded on PepsiCo/Quaker recommended variety list
OA1426-22018SeCanVery good yield, exceptionally high test weight, and good levels of groat and beta-glucan in 2015-2017 Quebec provincial trials Highly resistant to crown rust
OA1436-12018Not licensed yetVery good yield Exceptionally high test weight in 2015-2017 Quebec provincial trials


Management recommendations

New information on nitrogen application has resulted in better application recommendations for oat growers. A nitrogen rate study conducted at Ottawa ON, Normandin QC and Melfort SK for nine diverse oat cultivars (coordinated by Dr. Bao-luo Ma) indicated that nitrogen fertilizer up to 150 kg ha-1 led to not only higher grain yield and protein content but also higher beta-glucan content and lower oil content.

Genomic selection

Considerable progress was made in oat genomics and bioinformatics such that procedures, tools and methods have been developed (in Dr. Nick Tinker’s lab) and ready to use in genomic selection. The first test of this approach in oat breeding occurred in 2017 with encouraging results.

This oat breeding and research project took a multidisciplinary approach with a team of 10 scientists across Canada specializing in breeding, agronomy, pathology, genomics and grain quality. More than 10 test locations across Canada were used to conduct this project.

Training

Post doctorate research scientist Wubishet Bekele in Dr. Nick Tinker’s lab led the genomics research and will continue to analyze the results as he builds his expertise in this specialized genetic practice. Three additional doctoral students from China participated in the project as part of an agreement between Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture. More than 50 summer students were also hired and trained to assist with the breeding and research project.

Successes

Nine new oat cultivars were developed through this research project for growers and food processors, offering new opportunities to improve the yield and quality of oats grown in eastern Canada.

Specific cultivars were bred to for crown rust resistance – AAC Banner, AAC Torrent and OA1426-2 have superior to good resistance to crown rust. Additional lines expected to be released in future years, including OA1453-2, OA14444-4 and OA1439-1, also have superior to good resistance to crown rust.

Genomic selection was introduced to oat breeding for the first time through this project. While conclusive results of genomic research applications won’t be realized for a few years, the introduction of genomics will take genetic oat selection to a new level. Previous breeding selection methods relied solely on the individual breeder’s selection that saw variations across fields and test plots, climate fluctuations and growing environments. The genomic selection approach has the potential to offer a new, streamlined selection method for early generation selection and is not affected by environmental factors.

External Funding Partners:

This research activity was part of the Canadian Field Crop Genetics Improvement Cluster led by the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA).

Funding for this project was provided in part by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) AgriInnovation Program and in part by the CFCRA members. Grain Farmers of Ontario is a founding member of the CFCRA.

Project Related Publications:

Bekele, W.A., Wight, C.P., Chao, S., Howarth, C.J. and Tinker, N.A., 2018. Haplotype based genotyping‐by‐sequencing in oat genome research. Plant biotechnology journal.

Bjørnstad, Å., He, X., Tekle, S., Klos, K., Huang, Y.F., Tinker, N.A., Dong, Y. and Skinnes, H., 2017. Genetic variation and associations involving Fusarium head blight and deoxynivalenol accumulation in cultivated oat (Avena sativa L.). Plant Breeding136(5), pp.620-636.

Chaffin, A.S., Y.-F. Huang, S. Smith, W.A. Bekele, E. Babiker, B.N. Gnanesh, …, Tinker, N.A (corresponding author). 2016. A consensus map in cultivated hexaploid oat reveals conserved grass synteny with substantial sub-genome rearrangement. The Plant Genome 9. doi:10.3835/plantgenome2015.10.0102.

Guo, W., Chen, Y., Al-Rewashdy, Y., Foran, N., Ma, B.L., Yan, W., Frégeau-Reid, J., Liu, J., Ren, C., Pageau, D., Vera, C., and Xue, A.G. 2018. Effect of nitrogen fertilization on seed-borne Fusarium species in oat. Canadian Journal of Plant Science98, pp.38-46.

Klos, K.E., Yimer, B.A., Babiker, E.M., Beattie, A.D., Bonman, J.M., Carson, M.L., Chong, J., Harrison, S.A., Ibrahim, A.M., Kolb, F.L. and McCartney, C.A., 2017. Genome-wide association mapping of crown rust resistance in oat elite germplasm. The plant genome10(2).

Li, Pu‐Fang, Bao‐Luo Ma, Weikai Yan, Zheng‐Guo Cheng, Feng‐Min Li, and You‐Cai Xiong. 2016.  “Plant architecture, plasticity, and adaptation strategies of two oat genotypes under different competition intensities.” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 96, no. 5: 1431-1439.

Luo, X., Tinker, N.A., Zhou, Y., Wight, C.P., Liu, J., Wan, W., Chen, L. and Peng, Y., 2017. Genomic relationships among sixteen species of Avena based on (ACT) 6 trinucleotide repeat FISH. Genome, (999), pp.1-8.

Ma, B.L., Zheng, Z.M.,Pageau, D., Vera, C., Fregeau-Reid, J., Xue, A., and Yan, W., 2017. Nitrogen and phosphorus uptake, yield and agronomic traits of oat cultivars as affected by fertilizer N rates under diverse environments. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 108, pp. 245-265.

Menzies, J.G., Xue, A.G., Deceuninck, S., Popovic, Z. and Keber, M. 2016. Crown rust of oat in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario in 2014.  Can. Plant Dis. Surv.  96: 146-148.

Menzies, J.G., Xue, A.G., Deceuninck, S, Popovic Z, Friesen, J. 2017. Crown rust of oat in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario in 2015. Can. Plant Dis. Surv. 97: 113-115.

Tinker, N.A. and E.R. Cober. 2016. Plant Breeding. In: J. C. Neal Stewart, editor Plant Biotechnology and Genetics: Principles, Techniques and Applications, 2nd edition. Wiley and Sons, New York.

Tinker, N.A., W.A. Bekele and J. Hattori. 2016. Haplotag: software for haplotype-based genotyping-by-sequencing analysis. G3: Genes Genomes Genetics 6: 857-863. doi:10.1534/g3.115.024596.

Xue, A.G., and Chen, Y. 2016. Diseases of oat in central and eastern Ontario in 2015. Can. Plant Dis. Surv.  96: 115-116.

Yan, W., Fregeau-Reid, J., Ma, B.L., Pageau, D. and Vera, C., 2017. Nitrogen Fertilizer Complements Breeding in Improving Yield and Quality of Milling Oat. Crop Science57(6), pp.3291-3302.

Yan, W., Fregeau-Reid, J., Martin, R., Pageau, D., Xue, A., Jakubinek, K., DeHaan, B., Thomas, S., Hayes, M. and Cummiskey, A., 2017. AAC Noranda oat. Canadian Journal of Plant Science97(5), pp.928-934.

Yan, W., McElroy, A., Fregeau-Reid, J., Martin, R., Pageau, D., Xue, A., Jakubinek, K., DeHaan, B., Thomas, S., Sibbit, D. and Cummiskey, A., 2017. AAC Almonte oat. Canadian Journal of Plant Science97(5), pp.943-949.

Yan, W., McElroy, A., Fregeau-Reid, J., Martin, R., Pageau, D., Xue, A., Jakubinek, K., DeHaan, B., Thomas, S., Sibbit, D. and Cummiskey, A., 2017. AAC Richmond oat. Canadian Journal of Plant Science97(5), pp.923-927.

Yan, W., McElroy, A., Fregeau-Reid, J., Xue, A., Jakubinek, K., DeHaan, B., Thomas, S. and Sibbit, D., 2017. AAC Bullet oat. Canadian Journal of Plant Science97(4), pp.731-735.

Yan, W., Frégeau-Reid, J., Martin, R., Pageau, D., Xue, A., Jakubinek, K., Dehaan, B., Thomas, S., Hayes, M., Sibbit, D. and Cummiskey, A., 2017. AAC Blake oat. Canadian Journal of Plant Science97(5), pp.935-938.

Yan, W., Pageau, D., Martin, R., Cummiskey, A. and Blackwell, B., 2017. Is Deoxynivalenol Contamination a Serious Problem for Oat in Eastern Canada? Crop Science57(1), pp.88-98.  

Yan, W., Frégeau-Reid, J., Martin, R., Pageau, D., Xue, A., Jakubinek, K., DeHaan, B., Thomas, S., Hayes, M., Hayes, M. and Cummiskey, A., 2016. AAC Kolosse oat. Canadian Journal of Plant Science97(2), pp.352-355.

Yan, W., Frégeau-Reid, J., Martin, R., Pageau, D., Xue, A., Jakubinek, K., deHaan, B., Thomas, S., Hayes, M., Sibbit, D. and Cummiskey, A., 2016. AAC Nicolas covered oat. Canadian Journal of Plant Science97(1), pp.132-134.

Yan, W. 2016. Analysis and handling of G× E in a practical breeding program. Crop Science56(5), pp.2106-2118.

Yan, W., Frégeau-Reid, J., Pageau, D. and Martin, R., 2016. Genotype-by-environment interaction and trait associations in two genetic populations of oat. Crop Science56(3), pp.1136-1145.

Yan, H., S.L. Martin, W.A. Bekele, R.G. Latta, A. Diederichsen, Y. Peng…, Tinker, N.A (corresponding author). 2016. Genome size variation in the genus Avena. Genome 59: 209–220. doi:10.1139/gen-2015-0132.

Yan, H., W.A. Bekele, C.P. Wight, Y. Peng, T. Langdon, R.G. Latta, …, Tinker, N.A (corresponding author). 2016. High-density marker profiling confirms ancestral genomes of Avena species and identifies D-genome chromosomes of hexaploid oat. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 129: 2133–2149. doi:10.1007/s00122-016-2762-7.

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