Helen Booker

H. Booker
Associate Professor
GFO Wheat Breeder



519-824-4120 x56829


B.Sc. (Honours) University of Guelph;
M.Sc. University of Guelph;
Ph.D. University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago


Crop Science Building


316 CRSC


I am a plant breeder and lead the wheat program, which focuses on improvement of winter wheat for production in Ontario. My research program focuses on germplasm, trait development and improving selection efficiency for breeding of winter wheat.  The program has a large field component that includes field-scale experiments at the Elora Research Station (ERS). These experiments include thousands of breeding lines. To generate variation, initial crosses are performed indoors on vernalized lines (winter wheat requires a cold period to initiate flowering), and then the segregating (differing) populations are planted in the fall and selections are made the following summer. After six generations, the lines are ‘fixed’ and then tested in replicated yield plots initially at ERS and subsequently at multiple locations across Ontario. Elite breeding lines are entered into registration trials for either pastry or bread end-use market classes for at least two years at multiple locations in Ontario. Candidate winter wheat lines that exhibit consistent and superior agronomic traits, such as yield and disease resistance, and that meet the required quality parameters are brought forward to the recommending committee for cereals for registration.

Registered Canada Eastern Soft Red Winter Wheat (CESRW) released by the Guelph wheat program include: OAC Virgo, OAC Moon, OAC Twilight, OAC Vega and OAC Constellation. All new OAC varieties are entered into Performance Trials, and the curated data released to Ontario farmers at Go.Crops.ca


CROP*3300 Grain Crops
MBG*3100 Plant Genetics
MBG*4160 Plant Breeding
PLNT*6250 Colloquium in Plant Breeding & Genetics
PLNT*6340 Plant Breeding

Relevant Links:

Selected Publications:

McConachie, R., Belot, C. Serajazari, M., Booker, H. & Sulik, John. (2024). Estimating Fusarium Head Blight Severity in Winter Wheat using Deep Learning and a Spectral Index. The Plant Phenome Journal. Volume 7, Issue 1.

Husiny, J, Ficht, A, Whiting, R, Booker, H, Hooker, D, McElroy, M & Lyons, E. (2024). Improved Methods to Estimate Days and Temperature to Fifty Percent Mortality of Winter Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Under Low-Temperature Flooding and Ice Encasement. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjps-2023-0143

Cloutier, S, Edwards, T, Zheng, C, Booker, HM, *Islam, T, *Nabetani, K, . . . You, FM. (2024). Fine-mapping of a major locus for Fusarium wilt resistance in flax (Linum usitatissimum L.). Theoretical and Applied Genetics (TAG). 137(27), 1-12. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s00122-023-04528-2 (Published)

Edirisinghe, P.; Wang, L.; *Young, L.; Booker, H.; Rashid, K. ; Kutcher H.R., Inheritance of Fusarium wilt resistance in flax., Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology. (October 2023) doi: 10.1080/07060661.2023.2265900

Weikai, Y., Hadinezhad, M., Dehaan, B., Hayes, M., Orozovic, S., Nilsen, K. T., . . Chen, Y. (2023). Exploring the Trait-Yield Association Patterns in Different Oat Mega-Environments of Canada. Crop Science. 63(6), 3356-3366. doi:10.1002/csc2.21106

Seifi S; Kaviani M; Navabi A; Lee EA; Booker HM, Underlying Mechanism of FHB susceptibility and resistance in wheat: Insights from a transcriptome-based analysis., Crop Science. Volume 63, Issue 4, 2347-2370 (April 2023) doi: 10.1002/csc2.20974

Serajazari M, Torkamaneh, D, Gordon, E, *Kaviani, M, Lee, E, Booker, H, . . . Navabi, A. (2023). Identification of Fusarium Head Blight Resistance Markers in a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) of CIMMYT Spring Synthetic Hexaploid Derived Wheats. BMC Plant Biology. doi:10.1186/s12870-023-04306-8

House, Megan A., Young, Lester W Robinson, Stephen J, Booker Helen M.  2022. Transcriptomic Analysis of Early Flowering Signals in ‘Royal’ Flax. Plants; Basel Vol. 11 Iss. 7. DOI:10.3390/plants11070860

Sugihara Y, Young L, Yaegashi H, Natsume S, Shea DJ, Takagi H, Booker H, Innan H, Terauchi R, Abe A. 2022. High-performance pipeline for MutMap and QTL-seq.  PeerJ. 10:e13170 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.13170.

Seifi H., Serajazari M., Kaviani M., Booker H., Pauls, P. Navabi, A.  (2021).  Immunity to stripe rust in wheat: A case study of a hypersensitive-response (HR)- independent resistance to Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici in Avocet-Yr15Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology DOI:10.1080/070606661.2021.1907448.

House, M.A., L.W. Young, X. Liu, K. Liber, A. Diederichsen and H. Booker.  (2020). Comparative analysis of cadmium uptake and distribution in contrasting Canadian flax cultivars. BMC Research Notes. 13:424. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13104-020-05265-1

Islam, T., Vera, C., Slaski, J., Romana, M., Rashid, K., Booker, H., Kutcher, H. (2020). Fungicide management of pasmo of flax and sensitivity of Septoria linicola to pyraclostrobin and fluxapyroxad. Plant Disease. 2021-05-05. 1677–1684. https://doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-06-20-1175-RE

Lan, S.; Zheng, C.; Hauck, K.; McCausland, M.; Duguid, S.D.; Booker, H.M.; Cloutier, S.; You, F.M. (2020). Genomic Prediction Accuracy of Seven Breeding Selection Traits Improved by QTL Identification in Flax.  Int. J. Mol Sci. 21, 1577. https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/5/1577

Sun, J., Young, L., House, M., Daba, K., and Booker, H.M.  (2019).  Photoperiod sensitivity of Canadian flax cultivars and 5-azacytidine treated early flowering derivative lines. BMC Plant Biology. 19. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12870-019-1763-5

Jia, G. and Booker, H.M.  (2018).  Optimal models for the yield analysis of flax cultivars. Canadian Journal of Plant Sciences. 98: 897-907. https://doi.org/10.1139/CJPS-2017-0282

You, F.M., Jia, G., Xiao, J., Duguid, S.D., Rashid K.Y., Booker, H.M., and Cloutier, S.  (2017).  Genetic variability of 27 traits in a core collection of flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) reveal divergent selection between fibre and linseed types. Frontiers in Plant Science. 8: 1636. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2017.01636

Booker, H.M., Lamb, E.G., and Smyth, S.J. (2017). Ex-post assessment of genetically modified, low level presence in Canadian flax. Transgenic Research. 26(3): 399-409.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11248-017-0012-7

You, F.M., Booker, H.M., Duguid, S.D., Jia, G., and Cloutier, S. (2016).  Accuracy of genomic selection in biparental populations. The Crop Journal. 4(4): 290-303. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cj.2016.03.001

You, F.M., Duguid, S.D., Lam, I., Cloutier, S., Rashid, K.Y., and Booker, H.M.  (2016).  Pedigrees and genetic base of flax cultivars registered in Canada.  Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 96(5): 837-852. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjps-2015-0337

You, F.M., Song Q., Jia G., Cheng Y., Duguid S., Booker H., and Cloutier S.  (2016).  Estimation of genetic parameters and their sampling variances for quantitative traits in the type 2 modified augmented design, The Crop Journal. 4(2): 107-118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cj.2016.01.003

Young, L., Hammerlindl, J., Babic, V., McLeod, J., Sharpe, A., Matsalla, C., Bekkaoui, F., Marquess, L., and Booker, H.M.  (2015).  Genetics, structure, and prevalence of FP967 (CDC Triffid) T-DNA in flax.  SpringerPlus. 4: 146.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s40064-015-0923-9

Zhang, T., Lamb, E.G., Soto-Cerda, B., Duguid, S., Cloutier, S., Rowland, G., Diederichsen, A. and Booker, H.  (2014).  Structural equation modeling of the Canadian flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) core collection for multiple phenotypic traits. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 94(8): 1325-1332.  https://doi.org/10.4141/CJPS-2014-158


Tar’an et al. 2024 CDC Esme oilseed flax. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjps-2023-0186
Booker et al. 2024 CDC Kernen oilseed flax. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjps-2023-0185
Booker et al. 2020 CDC Rowland, Canadian Journal of Plant Science. DOI:10.1139/CJPS-2020-0111;
Booker et al., 2020, CDC Dorado oilseed flax, Canadian Journal of Plant Science. DOI:10.1139/CJPS-2020-0109;
Booker et al., 2020, CDC Melyn oilseed flax, Canadian Journal of Plant Science DOI:10.1139/CJPS-2020-0103;
Booker et al., 2020, CDC Plava oilseed flax, Canadian Journal of Plant Science. DOI: 10.1139/CJPS-2020-0093;
Booker et al., 2020, CDC Buryu oilseed flax, Canadian Journal of Plant Science. DOI:10.1139/CJPS-2020-0095;
Booker et al., 2014. CDC Neela oilseed flax. Canadian Journal of Plant Sciencehttps://doi.org/10.4141/CJPS-2014-174(link is external);
Booker et al., 2014. CDC Glas oilseed flax. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 94(2): 451-452 https://doi.org/10.4141/cjps2013-158