$93 Million Committed to Genomics Research Projects

(File photo)

The federal agriculture minister joined the chairs of Genome Canada and the Western Grains Research Foundation in Saskatoon on Tuesday to announce a total of $93 million in funding for 11 agriculture and aquaculture genomics research projects.

$30.8 million is coming from the federal government through Genome Canada, with $5 million from WGRF. The balance of the funding is from co-funders, including provincial governments, private sector partners, and non-profit organizations.

The 11 projects, which will each receive between $5 million and just over $10 million, were selected for funding under Genome Canada’s 2014 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition “Genomics and Feeding the Future.”

The research will use genomics to address issues ranging from disease resilience in pigs to methane emissions in dairy to genetic selection in wheat.

“We are working to develop genomic tools and tests to improve our ability to select for desired characteristics such as yield, disease and pest resistance, and heat and drought stress resilience. The end result will be more productive, profitable and environmentally-sustainable wheat varieties for farmers,” explained Curtis Poziak, plant scientist at the University of Saskatchewan. Pozniak is involved in a $8.5 million project focused on understanding the wheat genome and using genetic markers and predictive genetic tests to improve selection efficiency in Canadian wheat breeding programs.

Here’s a summary of the projects receiving funding (more details can be found on the Genome Canada website):

  1. Canadian Triticum Applied Genomics (CTAG2 )
    Project leaders: Curtis Pozniak, University of Saskatchewan; Andrew Sharpe, National Research Council Canada
    Lead Genome Centre: Genome Prairie
    Total funding: $8.5 million
  2. Application of genomics to innovation in the lentil economy (AGILE)
    Project leaders: Kirstin Bett and Albert Vandenberg, University of Saskatchewan
    Lead Genome Centre: Genome Prairie
    Total funding: $7.9 million (includes funding from Western Grains Research Foundation)
  3. Sustaining and securing Canada’s honey bees using ‘omic tools
    Project leaders: Leonard Foster, University of British Columbia; Amro Zayed, York University
    Lead Genome Centre: Genome British Columbia
    Total funding: $7.2 million
  4. Genomics of abiotic stress resistance in wild and cultivated sunflowers
    Project leaders: Loren H. Rieseberg, University of British Columbia; John M. Burke, University of Georgia
    Lead Genome Centre: Genome British Columbia
    Total funding: $7.9 million
  5. Application of genomics to improve disease resilience and sustainability in pork production
    Project leaders: Michael Dyck, University of Alberta; John Harding, University of Saskatchewan; Bob Kemp, PigGen Canada Inc.
    Lead Genome Centres: Genome Alberta, Genome Prairie
    Total funding: $9.8 million
  6. Increasing feed efficiency and reducing methane emissions through genomics: A new promising goal for the Canadian dairy industry
    Project leaders: Filippo Miglior, University of Guelph; Paul Stothard, University of Alberta
    Lead Genome Centres: Genome Alberta, Ontario Genomics Institute
    Total funding: $10.3 million
  7. SoyaGen: Improving yield and disease resistance in short-season soybean
    Project leaders: François Belzile, Université Laval; Richard Bélanger, Université Laval
    Lead Genome Centre: Genome Québec
    Total funding: $8.3 million
  8. Reverse vaccinology approach for the prevention of mycobacterial disease in cattle
    Project leaders: Andrew Potter, VIDO-InterVac, University of Saskatchewan; Robert Hancock, University of British Columbia
    Lead Genome Centres: Genome Prairie, Genome British Columbia
    Total funding: $7.4 million
  9. A Syst-OMICS approach to ensuring food safety and reducing the economic burden of salmonellosis
    Project Leaders: Lawrence Goodridge, McGill University; Roger C. Levesque, Institute for Integrative Systems Biology (IBIS), Université Laval
    Lead Genome Centre: Génome Québec
    Total Funding: $9.8 million
  10. Enhancing production in Coho: Culture, Community, Catch (EPIC4)
    Project leaders: William S. Davidson, Simon Fraser University; Louis Bernatchez, Université Laval
    Lead  Genome Centres: Genome British Columbia, Génome Québec
    Total funding: $9.9 million
  11. Towards a Sustainable Fishery for Nunavummiut
    Project leaders: Virginia K. Walker, Queen’s University; Stephen C. Lougheed, Queen’s University; Peter Van Coeverden de Groot, Queen’s University; Stephan Schott, Carleton University
    Lead Genome Centre: Ontario Genomics Institute
    Total funding: $5.6 million

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