Project receives funding from Genome Canada
By Top Crop Manager
May 7, 2013, Guelph, Ont. – University of Guelph researchers tackling a challenge in plant genetics received $220,000 in April from Genome Canada.
A team led by Lewis Lukens, professor with the department of plant agriculture, and Cortland Griswold, professor with the department of integrative biology, will use bioinformatics tools to understand how organisms that are well adapted to their environments can be selected to speed up development of new plant varieties.
Their work will be funded by the Government of Canada through Genome Canada and the Ontario Genomics Institute (OGI). It was part of the 2012 Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Competition, a partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Selective breeding of plants and animals generates populations with desirable traits such as high quality, high yield and the ability to grow in difficult conditions. Selective breeding helps ensure sufficient production for food, fuel and raw materials and reduces the environmental impact of agriculture.
Factors such as climate change and population growth make selective breeding more important than ever. But researchers have faced challenges in identifying genes and other genetic material that help improve environmental adaptation, and using this information in breeding programs.
Lukens and Griswold will use novel methods to integrate genomic signal processing and genomic selection.
“We are very excited to have received this award,” Lukens said in a University of Guelph press release. “Widespread sequencing of genomes has revolutionized genetics. In our research programs, we have worked to develop novel approaches for the analysis and utilization of this genomic data. This work will greatly facilitate our progress, and with these funds, we hope to develop an important tool for plant and animal breeding.”