B.Sc. Crop Science, Montana State University;
M.Sc. Agronomy, Montana State University;
Ph.D. in Cytogenetics and Crop Breeding, University of Guelph
The main focus of research is in breeding methodology and in the application of the theory to practical issues facing cereal crop production in Ontario. The RIPE (Recurrent Introgressive Population Enrichment) breeding system has been developed which is based on a genotype-selectable xenia-expressing marker gene tightly linked to a genetic male sterile gene to increase crossing efficiency in barley. The increased crossing efficiency makes it feasible to apply recurrent selection techniques to the normally self-pollinated barley. A hierarchical structure of introgression is used to avoid dilution/pollution of the adapted Elite germplasm while still allowing the incorporation of new, desirable alleles from exotic sources. This RIPE system is being employed to improve lodging resistance, disease resistance, seed quality, agronomic type, and yield in the barley breeding program. It has resulted in the development and commercialization of many superior cultivars for Ontario producers. Projects are currently underway in fine-tuning the RIPE methodology and applying it to developing barley with improved feed quality and agronomic type for specific end uses.
Modifications of the RIPE approach using dominant and recessive male sterility are being developed for wheat breeding. In addition, the development of winterhardy spring germplasm is being used to accelerate generation advancement in the breeding process. The method is being employed in breeding for disease resistance, agronomic type, improved milling quality, and increased winter hardiness.
Falk, D.E. (2009). Generating and maintaining diversity at the elite level in crop breeding. Genome. 53 (11): 982-91. DOI: 10.1139/G10-081.
Cowling, W.A., B.J. Buirchell and D.E. Falk. (2008). A model for incorporating novel alleles from the primary gene pool into elite crop breeding programs while reselecting major genes for domestication or adaptation. Crop and Pasture Science. 60 (10): 1009-1015. DOI: 10.1071/CP08223.
Falak, I., D.E. Falk, N.A. Tinker and D.E. Mather. (1999). Resistance to powdery mildew in a doubled haploid barley population and its association with marker loci. Euphytica. 107: 185-192.
Ockenden, I., D.E. Falk and J.N.A. Lott. (1997). Stability of phytate in barley and beans during storage. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 45 (5):1673-1677.
Kannenberg, L.W. and D.E. Falk. (1995). Models for activation of plant genetic resources for crop breeding programs. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 75:45-53.
Falk, D.E. and K.J. Kasha. (1982). Registration of a shrunken endosperm, male sterile germplasm to facilitate hybridization in barley. Crop Science. 22: 450.