Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is an important crop and export commodity for Canada. Increased global population, demand for superior quality grains, and rapidly evolving pathogens have necessitated the breeding of high-yielding, disease-resistant wheat cultivars. Significant improvements in breeding efficiency can be made through advances in wheat genetics and genomics to develop tools that accelerate genetic gains in wheat. The identification of genes and quantitative trait loci for economically important traits and the development of associated molecular markers have the potential to improve selection efficiency. Marker-assisted selection enriches desirable allelic frequency, complements phenotypic data, and facilitates gene stacking. Molecular markers have been developed for various genes and quantitative trait loci conferring resistance to leaf rust, stripe rust, stem rust, Fusarium head blight, loose smut, common bunt, leaf spot, wheat blossom midge, and wheat stem sawfly. Markers are available for wheat grain and flour characteristics as well. Agronomic traits such as vernalization requirement, day-length sensitivity, and plant height can also be selected using molecular markers. Validated single nucleotide polymorphism based markers are a useful tool in breeding new wheat varieties for the Canadian prairies. In the current review, we present a compilation of validated molecular markers that are polymorphic and potentially useful for Canadian wheat breeding.
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Vol. 99 • No. 2