New projects provide a $33.6 million boost for crops and animal health research and development

Posted on July 23, 2015

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Projects offer food security solutions through lentil and wheat improvement and infectious disease prevention.

Results of the Genome Canada Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition Genomics and Feeding the Future, in funding partnership with the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), were announced at the University of Saskatchewan on July 21, 2015. Four projects developed with and supported by Genome Prairie received funding from Genome Canada, with a total combined investment of $33.6M.

“On behalf of Genome Prairie’s Board of Directors and staff, we extend congratulations to project leaders Drs. Kirstin Bett, Andrew Potter and Curtis Pozniak. Together with their teams and funding partners, they were successful in a particularly challenging national competition. The University of Saskatchewan was awarded three of the 11 funded projects, more than any other university in Canada. We also congratulate Dr. John Harding on success in the co-lead role with our colleagues at Genome Alberta. This is an exciting time for Genome Prairie and our partners.” 

– Chris Barker, Chief Scientific Officer, Genome Prairie.

Project Profile
• Application of genomics to innovation in the lentil economy (AGILE). Project leaders: Kirstin Bett and Albert Vandenberg, University of Saskatchewan. Total Funding: $7.9M. The goal of the AGILE project is to provide Canadian farmers with faster access to better lentil varieties that will excel under Canadian growing conditions.

• Reverse vaccinology approach for the prevention of mycobacterial disease in cattle. Genome Prairie and Genome BC (co-lead). Project Leaders: Andrew Potter, VIDO-Intervac, University of Saskatchewan and Robert Hancock, University of British Columbia. Total Funding: $7.4M. The goal of this project is to develop vaccines for two common diseases of cattle, bovine tuberculosis and Johne’s Disease, a gastrointestinal disease.

• Canadian Triticum Applied Genomics (CTAG2). Project Leaders: Curtis Pozniak, University of Saskatchewan and Andrew Sharpe, National Research Council Canada. Total Funding $8.5M. The goal of the CTAG2 project is to create tools and strategies for wheat breeders to develop improved cultivars that are more productive and resistant to diseases and pests, and resilient to heat and drought stresses.

• Application of genomics to improve disease resilience and sustainability in pork production. Genome Alberta and Genome Prairie (co-lead). Project leaders: Michael Dyck, University of Alberta; John Harding, University of Saskatchewan; Bob Kemp, PigGen Canada Inc. Total Funding $9.8M. The goal of this project is to create genomics tools to select pigs that are more tolerant of, or resistant, to multiple diseases. Those tools will also allow producers to manage the nutritional content of feed to optimize pig’s health, resulting in reduced use of antibiotics.

Read the national news release. For more information please contact Quyen Van, Communications Officer, Genome Prairie, qvan@genomeprairie.ca.