The Adoption of Molecular Marker Assisted Selection in Publicly Funded Western Canadian Wheat Breeding Programs
This thesis examines the adoption of marker assisted selection (MAS) by public wheat breeders in Western Canada. While governments, producers and the private sector are investing heavily in genomics and the development of breeding tools, improvements in breeding outcomes is dependent on the adoption of these new tools. The data set for this thesis was gathered from in-person surveys of eleven of the twelve active public wheat breeders in Western Canada. This nearly comprehensive data set allowed the construction of adoption curves for MAS, at the breeder level, and the breeder program level, and at the trait level, providing a detailed perspective of the level of adoption. Data collected from breeders on the year that breeders became aware of the markers they adopted provides an estimate of the adoption lag for each marker at all levels of aggregation. Based upon review of relevant literature, variables that could affect adoption, including characteristics of the marker, breeding program, and the breeder were identified. Ordinary least square regression models are developed for both adoption lag and the number of markers used. There is a high level of adoption of MAS by public wheat breeders with adoption lags decreasing over time. The number and type of employee influences the number of markers a breeder adopts. Absorptive capacity, how frequently a breeder reads academic publications, the number of years experience a breeder has, and whether a breeder is an employee of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) all shorten the adoption lag of MAS.
Marker assisted selection (MAS), wheat breeding, adoption, awareness, absorptive capacity
Master of Science (M.Sc.)
Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics