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New Zealand, Canada to Work on $5M Wine Genomics Collaboration

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Scientists from Canada and New Zealand, along with some help from the US, will work together on a CDN$5 million ($4.96 million) collaboration to use genomics to discover ways to improve wine from New World areas, the University of Auckland said today.
The WineGen project, which involves multiple parties in both Canada and New Zealand, as well as the US Department of Agriculture, will focus on finding molecular and biochemical changes that occur in the process of making wine. The collaborators will study changes that happen during grapevine cultivation, grape processing, and yeast fermentation.
The research players involved in WineGen include the University of British Columbia’s Wine Research Centre, the New Zealand Foundation for Research Science and Technology Wine Programme, the University of Auckland, Hortresearch, the Marlborough Wine Research Centre, Lincoln University, and Niagara College. Genome British Columbia is providing CDN$1.5 million of WineGen’s funding.
Also contributing to the collaboration are Calona Vineyards, Poplar Grove Winery, and Burrowing Owl Winery.
“The collaboration will allow NZ researchers to access genomics technologies at UBC and to assess differences between grape growing areas in different parts of the world,” University of Auckland project leader Richard Gardner said in a statement.
Gardner explained that the New Zealand research “is looking at the distinctive aroma of Sauvignon Blanc.”
WineGen also will include a social sciences approach, as it will work with Simon Fraser University researcher Michael Howlett to evaluate interactions in the Canadian wine industry “in the context of adopting and regulating innovative genomics-inspired technologies and interactions between industry, science, policy-makers and the general public,” the University of Auckland said.

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