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Environmental biosafety of field scale GM triticale (xTriticosecale Wittmack) cultivation for bioindustrial applications Open Access


Other title
interspecific outcrossing
Gene flow
intraspecific outcrossing
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Kavanagh, Vanessa B
Supervisor and department
Dr. Linda Hall
Examining committee member and department
Hills, Melissa (Adjunct in Agricultural Food and Nutrional Sciences)
Hall, Jocelyn (Biology)
Kav, Nat (Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Sciences)
Department of Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Science
Plant Science
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Triticale (xTriticosecale Wittmack) is an intergeneric hybrid of wheat (Triticum aestivum L. and T. Durum Desf.) and rye (Secale cereale L.) that is primarily utilized as an animal feed crop, but is being genetically modified (GM) to take advantage of its bioindustrial qualities. Prior to release of GM triticale cultivars, the potential for pollen-mediated gene flow (PMGF) and adventitious presence (AP) needs to be assessed to determine if it can coexist with weedy relatives and conventional wheat and triticale without causing unacceptable market harm. We evaluated the potential for PMGF from triticale to wild and weedy relatives in Canada. In North America, triticale has few relatives with the exception of cereal crops wheat (spring and durum) and rye. Outside of parental genera, triticale is at highest risk for hybridization with intermediate wheatgrass (Agropyron intermedium (Host) Beauv.) and jointed goatgrass (Aegilops cylindrica Host). Small and large plot experiments were conducted to quantify intraspecific PMGF from a triticale with a blue aleurone dominant trait to another triticale cultivar and spring and durum wheat. Combining small and large plot data, average intraspecific PMGF from 0.2-1.4 m was 0.76%. Large plot experiments recorded an average 3.4% PMGF adjacent the BA donor that, following an exponential decay model, declined to 0.09% by 50 m. Directional differences were detected with highest PMGF corresponding to prevailing wind directions at flowering. The estimated AP of GM triticale after harvest blending within a 50 m conventional field was 0.22%. We quantified interspecific PMGF from triticale to wheat because triticale is compatible with spring and durum wheat, exhibits synchronous flowering and may be grown in proximity. In small plot experiments, PMGF ranged from 0.0008% for spring wheat to 0.0006% for durum wheat, well below international labeling thresholds. Data indicated interspecific hybrids were rare. Based on this research, intra- and interspecific PMGF may not prevent approved GM triticale from co-existing with weedy relatives and conventional triticale and wheat cultivars.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Kavanagh, V.B., J.C. Hall and L.M. Hall. 2010. Potential hybridization of genetically engineered triticale with wild and weedy relatives in Canada. Crop Science 50:1128-1140.

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