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


CRSC 316


I am a plant breeder and currently lead the wheat program, which focuses on improvement of winter wheat for production in Ontario. The program has a large field component that includes field-scale experiments at the Elora Research Station (ERS). These experiments include thousand 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 unreplicated yield plots initially at ERS and subsequently in replicated yield plots 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 and Québec. 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 (OCCC) for registration. This year, the University of Guelph wheat program had two candidate lines (OAC19SRW-01 and OAC19SRW-03) supported for registration in Ontario.  My research program focuses on germplasm, trait development and improving selection efficiency for breeding of winter wheat.  For the first time our team planted the winter wheat world collection from Plant Gene Resources Canada (Canada’s seed bank) this fall for evaluation at the ERS.


CROP*3300 Grain Crops
PLNT*6250 Colloquium in Plant Breeding & Genetics

Relevant Links:

Selected Publications:

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

Sugihara, Y., Young, L., Yaegashi, H., Natsume, S., Shea, D.J., Takagi, H., Booker, H., Innan, H., Terauchi, R., Abe, A. (2020). High-performance pipeline for MutMap and QTL-seq, bioRxiv. 2020.06.28.176586; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.06.28.176586

Jia, G., 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


Patents/New Cultivars

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 Science. https://doi.org/10.4141/CJPS-2014-174;
Booker et al., 2014. CDC Glas oilseed flax. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 94(2): 451-452, https://doi.org/10.1139/CJPS2013-158.