Richard Keith Downey

Richard Keith Downey, scientist, plant breeder (b at Saskatoon 26 Jan 1927). Educated at University of Saskatchewan and Cornell, he has been employed at Agriculture Canada research stations in Lethbridge, Alberta from 1951-57 and

Canola Field
Baldur Stefansson and R.K. Downey first identified the first low erucic plants in rape, which led to the development of canola (Corel Professional Photos).

Richard Keith Downey

 Richard Keith Downey, scientist, plant breeder (b at Saskatoon 26 Jan 1927). Educated at University of Saskatchewan and Cornell, he has been employed at Agriculture Canada research stations in Lethbridge, Alberta from 1951-57 and in Saskatoon from 1957. Since 1958 he has been principal research scientist in charge of oilseed crop breeding at Saskatoon. Downey initiated and carried out a plan to transform rapeseed into an edible oilseed crop of superior quality. His most outstanding work to the present is the development of low-erucic-acid and low-glucosinolate rapeseed, now designated in the world trade as CANOLA. He has delineated the scientific basis of his work in numerous scientific journals, books and articles, and his work has stimulated quality plant breeding worldwide by showing how an old common species can be transformed into a high-quality crop. He received the Royal Bank Award in 1975.