Dean Spaner

Professor, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Ag, Food & Nutri Sci Dept


Professor, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Ag, Food & Nutri Sci Dept
4-16D Agriculture/Forestry Centre
9011 116 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2P5




PhD, McGill University

Job/Research Area 

Plant Breeding / Organic Agriculture 

Wheat Cultivars Registered since 2013:

Canadian Hard Red Spring Wheat (CWRS): Coleman (Lefsrud Seeds), Thorsby (Canterra Seeds), Go Early (Mastin Seeds), Parata (SeCan), Zealand (Lefsrud Seeds)

Tracker (Canterra Seeds), Jake (Canterra Seeds), RedNet (SeedNet), Ellerslie (SeCan), Sheba (Penwest Seeds), Noor (Lefsrud Seeds)

Canadian Prairie Spring (CPS): HY 2082 (Penwest Seeds)


Major Responsibilities/Research Interests

Our research group works in two general areas:

1) Conventional breeding (and genetic research) of wheat.

2) Agronomy and breeding of wheat for organic agricultural environments.

We work mainly in the fields and in greenhouses. In addition to a fully operational modern research farm and greenhouse facilities, we also have 11 acres of farmland on the South Campus devoted to organic agricultural research. We conduct some research on organic and conventional farms in central Alberta, and in affiliation with the Cereal Development Centre of Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development in Lacombe. We collaborate extensively with many breeding programs within the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada network, and trial much material from CIMMYT in Mexico.

I do not work with genetic transformation technologies, and do not operate a biotechnology laboratory. Students are free to explore inheritance studies within departmentally supported laboratories. I am also interested in agricultural projects related to sustainable technologies in the Developing World, and some graduate students work on such projects.

 Examples of MSc and PhD student projects conducted by our group

Theses completed:

1) Alana Kelbert. MSc. 2003 An agronomic, morphological, and breeding examination of lodging in bread wheat. MSc, 121 pp

2) Brian Love. MSc. 2004. Trees in pastures in Herrera Panama, with special reference to small-scale farmers. MSc, 140 pp

3) Rory Degenhardt (Co-supervised with Dr. Linda Hall). MSc. 2004. The biology and control of field violet. MSc. 145 pp

4) Shan Lohr. MSc. 2005. Comparison of spring triticale (X Triticosecale Wittmack) microspore pretreatments to reduce doubled haploid production time MSc, 78 pp

5) Dan Stanton. 2006. MSc. Agronomic evaluation of early maturing maize hybrids in central Alberta. MSc. 102 pp

6) Muhamad Iqbal. PhD. 2006. The genetics of earliness in Canadian spring wheat. PhD. 151 pp

7) Heather Mason. PhD. 2006. Aboveground weed competitive ability of spring wheat in organic and conventional management systems. PhD 172 pp

8) Amelia Kaut. MSc. 2007. Wheat cultivar and cereal species mixture use in organic and conventionally managed agricultural systems. MSc. 103 pp

9) Brian Love. 2007. Characterization and evaluation of tree, maize, and upland rice genetic resources in the Azuero region of Panama. PhD.179 pp

10) Jerome Bernier. PhD. 2008. Identification and characterization of quantitative trait loci for drought resistance in upland rice (Oryza sativa L.) 138 pp

11)  Todd Reid. Ph.D. 2010. The genetics of competitive ability in spring wheat 167 pp

12)  Alison Nelson, PhD. 2011. Soil microbial communities as affected by spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivar and grain mixtures in organic and conventional management systems. 150 pp

13)  Brian Beres, PhD. 2011. Integrating the building blocks of agronomy into an IPM system for wheat stem sawfly. 147 pp

14)  Graham Collier, MSc 2012, Seeding Date and Seeding Rate Effects on Agronomic and Grain Quality Traits of Triticale (X Triticosecale Wittmack) in Alberta, Canada. 95 pp

15)  Hiroshi Kubota. MSc. Weeds promote greater arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi benefit in organically managed spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivation systems. 108 pp

16)  Atif Kamran. PhD. Understanding the flowering gene complex in hexaploid spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) .148 pp. 

17)  Asif Muhammad. PhD. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping and doubled haploid technology for spring wheat improvement. 200 pp.

18)  Neshat Pazooki Moakhar. MSc. Evaluation and Comparison of the Agronomic Traits of 100 Wheat Cultivars Grown in Western Canada. 94 pp.

19)  Ivan Adamyk. MSc. Biology and control of rust diseases of wheat in western Canada and the need for continuing research. Course-based MSc final thesis. 2014. 40 pp

20)  Chen Hua. PhD. Quantitative trait loci and genome-wide association mapping in western Canadian spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) 2015. 163 pp

21)  Jun Zou. PhD. QTL mapping and genetic studies in the Attila x CDC Go spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) mapping population. 2016. 170 pp

22)  Enid Perez-Lara. PhD. Mapping of genomic regions associated with agronomic traits and resistance to diseases in Canadian spring wheat. 2016. 187 pp

23)  Hiroshi Kubota. PhD. 2017. Genetic variation of nitrogen use efficiency grown conventional and organic management systems for Canada Western Red Spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). PhD Thesis 191 pp.

24) Rongrong Xiang. MSc. 2018. Mapping QTL for different traits in conventional and organic management systems and evaluating the effects of Lr34/Yr18 and Lr37/Yr17 in a Canadian western hard spring wheat population. 137pp. 

25) Darcy Bemister MSc. 2018. Mapping quantitative trait loci associated with agronomic traits and disease resistance in a Canadian spring wheat mapping population. 140 pp

26) Khang Nguyen MSc. 2018. The performance of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivar mixtures in conventionally and organically managed systems in western Canada. 138 pp. 

27) Sadia Munir PhD. 2018. Contributions to the biology of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), and its larval parasitoid Diadegma insulare (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae). 191 pp.


COURSES TAUGHT (University of Alberta 2001-2020): 

Pl Sc 324 (Crop Eco-Physiology)

Pl Sc 355 (Grain and Oilseeds)

Pl Sc 221 (Introduction to Crop and Horticultural Science)

AFNS 660 (Post Graduate course in Scientific Communication)

RenR 580 (Graduate level Biometric Techniques)

AFNS 291 (The Mythical, Agricultural and Nutritional Origins of the Mediterranean Diet: taught in Cortona Italy)

AFNS 499 (Capstone course in Crop Science)

AFNS 601 (Seminar in Crop Science)

Self Pollinated Crop Breeding (MSc in Plant Breeding UniLaSalle Beauvais France)

Featured Publications

Dean M Spaner

2020 August;