Feds fund genomic research
By Top Crop Manager
Apr. 12, 2016 - As part of the Government of Canada's new Innovation Agenda, Budget 2016 announced $30 million over six years to support advanced research in agricultural genomics to mitigate biological threats to agriculture.
Genomics is the science that studies DNA sequences and the complexity of their multiple interactions.
In order to help detect, assess, understand and prevent biological threats to agriculture and international trade, scientists need access to reference collections, including very high resolution images and detailed "DNA fingerprints," of known specimens. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) currently provides over 10,000 identifications and responds to over 1,000 requests for assistance in identification annually.
The funding will allow AAFC scientists to build on this important work by enabling them to DNA fingerprint and digitize specimens of pests, weeds, and diseases from AAFC's current physical collections containing over 17 million physical specimens of insects, plants, fungi, bacteria and nematodes, and create reference collections that will be used to identify high-risk organisms.
This will enhance Canadian capacity for science-based decision making to improve agricultural production and international trade, as well as safeguard agricultural biodiversity through better pest and disease management.