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Canadian Government, Partners Commit C$59.8M to Natural Resources, Environmental Genomics Projects

NEW YORK — Genome Canada said on Thursday that the Canadian government, along with various partners, has committed C$59.8 million ($47.7 million) to fund eight applied research projects using genomics within the country's natural resources and environment sectors.

Approximately C$24.4 million is being provided by the Canadian federal government, with the remainder coming from provincial and other federal groups including Genome Canada and Natural Resources Canada, universities, and industry and international partners.

The first project — spearheaded by scientists at the University of Victoria, the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université du Québec en Outaouais, and Université Laval — aims to build genomics-based tools for environmental DNA analysis including a targeted eDNA detection national standard; eDNA kits to detect 100 priority invertebrates, fish, amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals in Canadian coastal and inland ecosystems; and a guidance document on eDNA-based methods integration into management, policy, and regulations.

Also receiving funding is an initiative led by scientists from the University of Alberta and Carleton University to develop genomic resources to help combat outbreaks of mountain pine beetles, a University of Calgary and Natural Resources Canada-led project to develop genomics-based methods to enhance and inform the efficacy of constructed wetland treatment systems for the treatment of oil sands process-affected water, and a project headed up by University of Manitoba researchers who are developing a genomics-informed monitored natural attenuation strategy for responding to oil spills.

Funding is also being provided to a University of Guelph team to improve DNA-based identification systems, a group from Queen's University to develop a microbial platform to eliminate plastic waste, and a team led by Saint Mary's University and New England Aquarium scientists that is using genomic data to enhance conservation of the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

Lastly, a team led by researchers from the BC Cancer Research Institute's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre and the University of Calgary is receiving funding to participate in the Earth BioGenome Project.