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Genome Canada Awards $61M in Grants

By a GenomeWeb Staff Reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Genome Canada will invest C$60 million (US$61.1 million) in 16 new research projects in a range of areas, including food safety, human health, livestock disease, and forests, the government and privately funded non-profit said today.

The announcement from Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear about the new funding came during a week when Canada released its federal budget plan for 2011, which includes an additional C$65 million to continue funding Genome Canada over the next year and a plan to maintain its funding and that of the Genome Centres through 2013-2014.

"This competition is part of Genome Canada's mandate to fund a wide range of large-scale genomics research projects through a competitive process," Genome Canada President and CEO Pierre Meulien said in a statement announcing the winners of the 2010 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition.

"We are proud of the process and the results which are a testament to the high level of excellent applied research being carried out in this country," he said. "Our government is investing in forestry, the environment, and health for the benefit of all Canadians," said Goodyear, adding that these areas are all "of strategic importance to Canada."

Some of the research will focus on finding ways to make forests more sustainable, by using genomics to identify tree diseases, develop faster-growing trees, and in other applications.

In agriculture, the funding will support research into livestock and crops, such as wheat, cattle, and pigs.

The awards for health science will be used to pursue new treatments for cancer and rare diseases, and to understand the function of each of the genes in the human genome.

The winning grants include funding for Genome British Columbia to use metagenomics to study fresh water health; forest pest genomics studies by Genome BC; studies of bees and pathogens that kill bees by Genome BC; research into the causes of childhood brain cancer by Genome BC and the Ontario Genomics Institute; studies into two pathogens that are causing the most common diseases in pig populations by Genome Alberta; sequencing wheat genomes and chromosomes to develop next-generation cultivars at Genome Prairie, and other similar projects in these areas.

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