Making Gains: How Mapping the Canola Genome Will Lead to Better Varieties

Once upon a time, something like a cabbage and a turnip-like plant engaged in a very “fortuitous cross pollination” and a new species was born, first known as oilseed rape, and then further cross-bred to become the human-consumption form, canola.

It’s this cross-pollination so long ago that has made mapping of the canola genome a more complicated process than it should be, given the size of the canola genome (it’s about ten-times smaller than wheat). And while the mapping process was complicated, scientists from several countries, including Canada, have collaborated on the successful sequencing of the entire genome.

Dr. Isobel Parkin, of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, explains in this audio interview, the role Canada played in this sequencing project, what scientists learned about the plant during the process, and how farmers will benefit through genetic marker technology — either though new traits, better varieties and/or faster varietal development.

If you can’t see the embedded interview, click here.

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