Picture of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Helen Booker

Helen Booker Associate Professor, Ministry of Agriculture Strategic Research Program (SRP) Chair, Flax Breeder (CDC)

3C28 - Agriculture Building

Research Area(s)

  • Flax breeding and genetics


Plant Sciences, Crop Development Centre

Research Interests


Canada is the world’s largest producer of flax, and the majority of that flax is grown in Saskatchewan. The flax breeding program at the Crop Development Centre (CDC) is the largest flax breeding program in North America developing cultivars for western Canadian growers. The main goals of the flax breeding and genetics program are to increase the area of adaptation where flax can be grown successfully and provide better genetics for improved agronomic performance and seed quality for the industrial, human health, and animal nutrition markets. To inform the breeding of flax, my research programs centres around understanding the genetics of traits of economic importance in flax. Specifically, I aim to identify crop characteristics associated with improved agronomic performance and germplasm with novel traits and to explore various breeding methods and genetic tools, such as molecular markers to facilitate the transfer of new traits into new cultivars and breeding lines.


  • Ph.D., University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago
  • M.Sc., University of Guelph
  • B.Sc. (Honours), University of Guelph

Selected Publications

Jia, G. and Booker, H.M.  2018.  Optimal models for the yield analysis of flax cultivars. Canadian Journal of Plant Sciences (in press). https://doi.org/10.1139/CJPS-2017-0282

You, F.M., Jia, G., Xiao, J., Duguid, S.D., Rashid K.Y., Booker, H.M., and Cloutier, S.  2017.  Genetic variability of 27 traits in a core collection of flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) reveal divergent selection between fibre and linseed types. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8: 1636. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2017.01636

Booker, H.M., Lamb, E.G., and Smyth, S.J.   2017. Ex-post assessment of genetically modified, low level presence in Canadian flax. Transgenic Research, 26(3): 399-409.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11248-017-0012-7

You, F.M., Booker, H.M., Duguid, S.D., Jia, G., and Cloutier, S.  2016.  Accuracy of genomic selection in biparental populations. The Crop Journal, 4(4): 290-303. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cj.2016.03.001

You, F.M., Duguid, S.D., Lam, I., Cloutier, S., Rashid, K.Y., and Booker, H.M.  2016.  Pedigrees and genetic base of flax cultivars registered in Canada.  Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 96(5): 837-852. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjps-2015-0337

You, F.M., Song Q., Jia G., Cheng Y., Duguid S., Booker H., and Cloutier S.  2016.  Estimation of genetic parameters and their sampling variances for quantitative traits in the type 2 modified augmented design, The Crop Journal, 4(2): 107-118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cj.2016.01.003

Young, L., Hammerlindl, J., Babic, V., McLeod, J., Sharpe, A., Matsalla, C., Bekkaoui, F., Marquess, L., and Booker, H.M.  2015.  Genetics, structure, and prevalence of FP967 (CDC Triffid) T-DNA in flax.  SpringerPlus, 4: 146.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s40064-015-0923-9

Zhang, T., Lamb, E.G., Soto-Cerda, B., Duguid, S., Cloutier, S., Rowland, G., Diederichsen, A. and Booker, H.  2014.  Structural equation modeling of the Canadian flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) core collection for multiple phenotypic traits. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 94(8): 1325-1332.  https://doi.org/10.4141/CJPS-2014-158

Booker, H.M., Rowland, G.G., Kutcher, H.R., and Rashid, K.Y.  2014.  CDC Neela oilseed flax. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 94(7):1313-1314. https://doi.org/10.4141/CJPS-2014-174

Booker, H.M., Rowland, G.G., and Rashid, K.Y.  2014.  CDC Glas oilseed flax. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 94(2): 451-452. https://doi.org/10.1139/CJPS2013-158

Funding Sources

  • Ministry of Agriculture, Saskatchewan
  • SeCan organization
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
  • Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF)
  • Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission (SFDC)
  • Genome Canada, Genome Prairie


  • PLSC333.3 Tropical Crops of the World
  • PLSC408.3 Global Plant Genetic Resources