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Research Team Wins C$6.5M From Genome Canada to Join Earth BioGenome Project

NEW YORK — Genome British Columbia said on Thursday that a team of researchers from Canada has won approximately C$6.5 million ($5.2 million) to join the Earth BioGenome Project, an international effect launched in 2017 to sequence all of the planet's eukaryotic species.

With the new funding, awarded through Genome Canada's 2020 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition: Genomic Solutions for Natural Resources and the Environment, a multi-institute team led by researchers from the BC Cancer Research Institute's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, or GSC, and the University of Calgary will identify around 400 species within Canada for sequencing. Their selections will be made based on the priorities of indigenous populations, federal and provincial organizations, academic scientists, and conservation and wildlife groups.

Genome British Columbia said that the scientists, working as the Canadian BioGenome Project, will also establish priorities for genomics tools development, make policy recommendations for the use of genomics to maintain biodiversity and support conservation and management, and develop a user-friendly platform of genomics data and information from the project specific to a particular location. Data generated through the effort will be made freely available.

"Sequencing the genomes of Canada's plants and animals is a massive proposition that requires significant scientific collaboration, one with enormous benefits not only for better understanding the evolution of life itself but in uncovering fundamental principles of health and disease, for individuals and populations," Steven Jones, codirector and head of bioinformatics at GSC, said in a statement.