PLANT BREEDER PROFILE NOT ALL WHEAT varieties are created equal. And no one knows that better than Harpinder Singh Randhawa. The spring wheat and triticale breeder who works at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Lethbridge, has developed no less than eight high-yielding spring wheat cultivars and co-developed four high-yielding triticale cultivars for general production in Western Canada. Randhawa’s passion for wheat breeding developed during his childhood on the family farm in Punjab, India. He attended Punjab Agricultural University, obtaining his BSc. Agriculture (Honours) in 1990 and his M.Sc. with a specialization in plant breeding in 1993. In 1994, he was appointed as assistant rice breeder at Punjab Agricultural University where he was part of a team whose objective was to develop high-yielding cultivars of rice. But his heart was set on wheat. “I came to Canada in 1996 and graduated with my PhD from the University of Saskatchewan in 2002,” he says. Following a short working stint at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, Randhawa took a position as post-doctoral fellow at Washington State University at Pullman, focusing his research on developing new wheat genomics tools, novel strategies for rapid introgression of traits using marker-assisted backcrossing, genetic and physical mapping of agronomically important traits in wheat and eventually developing improved wheat cultivars. Plant breeding isn’t without its challenges, and Harpinder Singh Randhawa is meeting them head-on and developing new and improved spring wheat cultivars with better agronomic performance, high end-use quality and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. WHEAT BREEDER CONTINUES MAKING INROADS Harpinder Singh Randhawa has developed eight high-yielding spring wheat cultivars and co-developed four high-yielding triticale cultivars. | Advancing Seed in Alberta 40