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Projects supported by the innovation centre

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Genome canada projects

2010 Large Scale Applied Research Project Competition
  • AdapTree: Assessing the Adaptive Portfolio of Reforestation Stocks for Future Climates

    Project Leader :
    Sally Aitken, University of British Columbia
    Andreas Hamann, University of Alberta

    Scientists are sequencing two of the most important western Canadian trees - lodgepole pine and spruce, to better understand what genes are involved in adaptation to local climate conditions. This will lead to ensuring that the right trees get planted in the right climactic areas improve the long-term health of forests and generate economic benefits of hundreds of millions of dollars every year. A range of stakeholders have been engaged to better understand the socioeconomic issues involved, leading to policy recommendations for better forestry management.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • BEEM: Bioproducts and Enzymes from Environmental Metagenomes

    Project Leader :
    Elizabeth Edwards, U. of Toronto
    David Major, Geosyntec Consultants (Guelph)

    This team of chemical engineers, biologists and policy experts will apply their knowledge of gene sequencing and computer modeling to identify, screen, analyze and clone new proteins. They will determine their potential as catalysts to transform low-value plant residues and waste products into valuable bioproducts. They will screen for communities of microbes that are essential to the fermentation of renewable agricultural or waste materials to convert them into fuel. They will also search for microbial communities that can be used to restore contaminated land and water, by understanding their natural function as one of nature's recyclers to break down the pollution at contaminated sites. The viability of new biotransformation processes will carefully be assessed considering economic, policy and regulatory constraints.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • Harnessing Microbial Diversity for Sustainable Use of Forest Biomass Resources

    Project Leader :
    Lindsay Eltis and William Mohn, University of British Columbia

    A key part of remaining competitive in the forestry products industry involves better management of forest biomass - a rich source of biofuels, feedstocks and other lignin-based products such as resins and carbon fibers. With funding from Genome Canada, scientists are exploring the microorganisms found in soil that naturally degrade biomass. Unlocking the potential of forest biomass will lead to better forest management practices and improve the economics of lignin-based products. To expedite the wider use of these innovations, an integrated GE3LS component is investigating key technological, commercial organizational, environmental and societal issues.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • Genomics-Based Forest Health Diagnostics and Monitoring

    Project Leader :
    Richard Hamelin, Université de Colombie-Britannique

    Genome Canada is funding research that is developing DNA-based diagnostic tests to identify and monitor tree pathogens. It will produce annual economic benefits in the tens of millions of dollars for the forest and nursery industry by reducing losses from disease. There are significant commercialization opportunities through the sale of these diagnostic tools on world markets. The project will undertake the largest forest pathogen sequencing effort in the world, helping to fill in gaps in our understanding of these threats. An integrated GE3LS component will generate insights into the commercialization of these tools and examine the public policy issues and social acceptance of using genomics technologies in the current forestry management framework.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • Improving Bioremediation of Polluted Soils Through Environmental Genomics

    Project Leader :
    B. Franz Lang and Mohamed Hijri, Université de Montréal

    Genome Canada is funding research into phytoremediation - a promising new biotechnology that uses plants to clean up pollutants in the soil. Part of the research involves sequencing selected microbes that are most effective in soil detoxification, which will place important new data in the public domain. Remediation services represent a market of over $30 billion in Canada and this sector has grown every year for the past decade. This project will, therefore, yield significant economic benefits for Canada, rehabilitate soil and create a healthier environment. The project will also develop a step-by-step methodology for sustainability assessments for site rehabilitation, including a toolkit for boards of directors and legal guidelines for governments and corporations.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • SMarTForest: Spruce Marker Technologies for Sustainable Forestry

    Project Leader :
    John MacKay, Université Laval
    Jörg Bohlmann, University of British Columbia

    Genome Canada is funding the development of marker technologies to identify seedlings that have superior growth and wood properties, or superior insect resistance. Genetic marker systems and biomarkers will be developed and applied to Canadian forestry programs. Using methods such as ?Marker Aided Selection? (MAS) also enables wood production to be concentrated on a smaller land area, allowing more forest to be set aside for conservation. Over the longer term, these methods will also enhance the competitiveness of the Canadian forestry by boosting yield and enhancing the value of its products. The project will conduct impact analyses of the economic, socio-economic as well as the legal and policy instruments that could affect the use of MAS in provincial jurisdictions and help develop high value jobs in rural communities by diversifying the ?bioproduct? pipeline.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • Orphan Diseases: Identifying Genes and Novel Therapeutics to Enhance Treatment (IGNITE)

    Project Leader :
    Christopher McMaster and Conrad Fernandez, Dalhousie University

    One in twelve Canadians suffers from an ?orphan disease?. The discovery of effective treatment for these conditions is often hampered by inadequate scientific understanding of the condition, limited resource allocation to study these diseases and the cost of new drug development. While individually rare, these diseases have a cumulative socio-economic and health effect on three million Canadians. Now, gene discovery is offering new hope for new therapies. Building on the successful Atlantic Medical Genetics and Genomics Initiative, scientists are developing new therapies to orphan disease patients in a shorter time, at reduced costs. With funding from Genome Canada, researchers are working to: discover genes responsible for these diseases; locate therapeutic targets; and identify small molecules and drug leads that could lessen the impact of these diseases. Researchers are also focusing on using or converting existing drugs to more rapidly address unmet medical needs. As part of their work, researchers are examining the ethical issues affecting orphan disease patients including evaluating international regulatory models for orphan drugs and the needs of individual recipients.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • CTAG - Canadian Triticum Advancement through Genomics

    Project Leader :
    Curtis J. Pozniak and Pierre Hucl, University of Saskatchewan

    Wheat is a major Canadian crop, generating over $11 billion annually in value-added food. Current breeding programs utilize some genomic tools, but the full potential of genomics is not being realized. New breakthroughs in sequencing technology allow scientists to characterize genes at the most basic level - the DNA sequence. It is this sequence that holds the key to enhancing the rate of genetic gain in wheat. Remarkably, the wheat genome is five times the size of the human genome and is being coordinated by the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium. With funding from Genome Canada, Canadian scientists are playing a key role in the consortium, sequencing chromosome 6D which is itself larger than the genome of rice. Together with its international partners, Canada is identifying the genes that wheat breeders can use to develop the next generation of wheat cultivars. GEL3S researchers are examining the role of public-private partnerships in wheat genomics and breeding research and will recommend strategies to maximize return on investment. This is particularly timely, given the increasing private investment in wheat genomics and breeding.

    Source: Genome Canada