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Canadian and Swedish Researchers to Collaborate on Poplar Genomics

NEW YORK, Feb. 11- Canadian and Swedish researchers are planning to combine their forestry genomics research, with a particular focus on poplar, Genome Canadasaid today.

 

University of British Columbia researcher Brian Ellis and three other members of the University's forestry genomics group will collaborate with the Swedish Tree Swedish Tree Functional Genomics Consortium, which is headed up by Goran Sandberg in Stockholm.

 

The researchers plan to pool sequence data in order to assemble an equivalent of the UniGene database for poplar ESTs. The research aims to aid in developing new strategies for sustainable forests.

 

The collaboration comes out of a scientific cooperation agreement that Genome Canada and the Karolinska Institute signed in June 2001, and is the third collaboration initiated and funded under the agreement. The other two cooperative projects involve high-throughput functional genomics wtih modified nuceic acids, and C. elegans expression profiling.

 

The Swedish part of the project is being funded by the Wallenberg Foundation and the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, and is being undertaken at the UmeaPlantScienceCenter.

 

The Canadian research is funded as part of a $CA11 million ($7.2 million) forestry genomics project at the Universityof British Columbia, which is funded by Genome British Columbiaand Genome Canada.

 

Swedish researchers brought their Canadian colleagues a CD-ROM that contains 100,000 ESTs, to a scientific workshop in Ottawa, where the collaboration was announced with much fanfare today. Swedish Prime Minister, Goran Persson, who is making an official state visit to Canada, and Rey Pagtakhan, Canada's Secretary of State for Science, Research and Development, were present, according to Genome Canada.

 

Both Swedenand Canadahave large boreal, or sub-arctic forests. Nearly half of Canada's vast landmass is covered by both boreal and temperate forests, according to Natural Resources Canada, while about 60 percent of Swedenis forested. In Sweden, about 95 percent of the forest land is used for commercial forestry, while a lesser proportion of Canadian forests are commercial, according to the CanadianParksand Wilderness society.

 

Genome Canada, a non profit organization, has invested approximately $CA 293 million ($191.6 million) in genomics research throughoutCanada, according to the organization.

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