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 West Indies) 
M.Sc. (University of Guelph) 
B.Sc. (Honours-University of Guelph)

Selected Recent Publications

Frank You, Scott D. Duguid, Irene Lam, Sylvie Cloutier, Khalid Y. Rashid, Helen Booker. 2016. Pedigrees and Genetic Base of Flax Cultivars Registered in Canada, Canadian Journal of Plant Science, Published on the web 27 April 2016, 10.1139/CJPS-2015-0337

You FM, Song Q,  Jia G, Cheng Y,  Duguid S, Booker H, Cloutier S. 2016. Estimation of genetic parameters and their sampling variances for quantitative traits in the type 2 modified augmented design, The Crop Journal. Doi: 10.1016/j.cj.2016.01.003

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

Khan NA, Booker H, Peiqiang Y.  2015. Effect of Heating Method on Alteration of Protein Molecular Structure in Flaxseed:  Relation with Changes in Protein Subfraction Profile and Digestion in Dairy Cows.  Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 63:  1057-1066. Doi.org/10.1021/jf503575y

Kumar S, You FM, Duguid S, Booker H, Rowland GG, Cloutier S. 2015. QTL for fatty acid composition and yield in linseed (Linum usitatissimum L.). Theoretical and Applied Genetics.  128:965-984; DOI 10.1007/s00122-015-2483-3.

Soto-Cerda BJ, Diederichsen A, Duguid S, Booker H, Rowland G, Cloutier S.  2014. The potential of pale flax as a source of useful genetic variation for cultivated flax revealed through molecular diversity and association analyses. Molecular Breeding; 34:2091-2107; DOI 10.1007/s11032-014-0165-5.

Zhang T, Lamb EG, B. Soto-Cerda B, Duguid S, Cloutier S, Rowland G, Diederichsen A, 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, DOI: 10.4141/CJPS-2014-158.

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