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Alberta Government Launches 1,000 Plants Initiative

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The government of Alberta, Canada, has launched the 1,000 Plants Initiative, an international collaboration focused on genomic discoveries that could potentially lead to new medicines and value-added plant products.
The initiative will be led by Gane Ka-Shu Wong, who recently was recruited as research chair in biosystems for Alberta’s Informatics Circle of Research Excellence.
Several partners are supporting the $2 million project including the Alberta government, the Alberta Agricultural Research Institute, Genome Alberta, and the University of Alberta, as well as international partners including the Beijing Genomics Institute and US-based Musea Ventures.
Technology developed by Wong will be used to determine the gene sequence of 1,000 plants. The results of the initiative could be used to improve crop breeding, from which other products, such as medicinal compounds, could be commercialized, the Alberta government said in a statement.
“My work has focused on finding ways to bring speed and cost-saving to DNA sequencing and applying the data to enhance selective breeding of useful plant species,” Wong said in a statement. “Incredibly, only about 100 plant species' DNA sequences have been analyzed in the proposed manner, so this project has real potential for new discoveries that can make nature work for us.”
All of the sequence data from the project will be made available to the public through GenBank.

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