Investing in world-class genomics research project
In 2015, WGRF announced a five-million-dollar investment into three applied genomics research projects in lentil, wheat and soybean. The following projects were selected for funding under Genome Canada’s 2014 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition Genomics and Feeding the Future:
- Application of Genomics to Innovation in the Lentil Economy (AGILE)
- Canadian Triticum Applied Genomics (CTAG2)
- SoyaGen: Improving Yield and Disease Resistance in Short-season Soybean
Application of Genomics to Innovation in the Lentil Economy (AGILE)
Drs. Kirstin Bett and Albert Vandenberg of the University of Saskatchewan are leading a team to provide Canadian farmers with faster access to better lentil varieties that will excel under Canadian growing conditions. Output from AGILE is expected to result in a three percent annual rate of increase in productivity, leading to a $550 million increase in export revenues, thus ensuring Canada’s continued dominance in research, production and marketing of this important crop.
Canadian Triticum Applied Genomics (CTAG2)
A team led by Dr. Curtis Pozniak of the University of Saskatchewan and Dr. Andrew Sharpe of the National Research Council Canada will conduct research to better understand the wheat genome. They will apply this research to develop genetic markers and predictive genetic tests to improve selection efficiency in Canadian wheat breeding programs. The end result will be the development of tools and strategies for wheat breeders to develop improved cultivars that are more productive and resistant to disease and pests, and resilient to heat and drought stresses. These cultivars will enable wheat farmers to ensure their product is more productive, profitable and environmentally sustainable.
SoyaGen: Improving Yield and Disease Resistance in Short-season Soybean
Dr. François Belzile and Dr. Richard Bélanger of Université Laval are leading a team that will probe deeply into the genetic code of soybeans to identify DNA markers that control key aspects of plant growth such as time to maturity and resistance to diseases and pests. Breeders will be able to use these markers to develop improved soybean varieties best suited to Canadian conditions. They will also conduct research focused on maximizing the growth potential of the soybean industry to accelerate producer adoption of soybeans in Western Canada. This research has the potential to deliver an economic benefit of $278 million annually, based on increasing the yield potential of soybean crops, increasing their resistance against diseases and pests, and reducing the use of pesticides.