Dr. Ingo Ensminger of the University of Toronto and Dr. Nathalie Isabel of Forest and Environmental Genomics at Natural Resources Canada are partnering with PrecisionHawk, an unmanned aerial system company. This academic-industry partnership will develop and deploy a software application that will enable breeders and forest managers to aerially assess tree phenology and performance during both the growing season and in response to pressures such as water deficits.
Forestry and agriculture together contribute close to eight per cent of GDP in Canada, but insect pests pose a continual threat. Functional genomics has long promised to bring new solutions to recurrent and new pest problems. Dr. Peter J. Krell of the University of Guelph, in collaboration with Drs. Daniel Doucet and Jeremy Allison (NRCan), is improving the surveillance and mitigation of pest management through the creation of highly sensitive surveillance and mitigation systems targeting insects using a family of insect genes known as odorant receptors (ORs).
A fact sheet created by Genome Canada exploring the ways genomics can help find solutions to the challenges facing Canada’s forest sector.
Insects damage important crops and forests and some insect species are responsible for the transmission of diseases. Drs. Daniel Doucet and Jeremy Allison of the Great Lakes Forestry Centre will develop an antenna-in-a-cell platform that aims to find physiologically-active odorants, and how they interact the insects’ odorant receptors to better understand which compounds mediate the attraction of destructive disease-transmitting insects.
Brent Patterson of Trent University and Linda Rutledge of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (OMNRF), are collaborating with scientists at Princeton University to improve wolf conservation in Ontario. The research team will validate and optimize a rapid and efficient genetic mapping approach on the Eastern Wolf, with potential to make genomics analysis of fish and wildlife populations more accessible to labs and researchers.
Pests and disease are destroying city trees and there are no alternatives suitable to survive the extreme conditions of Ontario urban environments. In an effort to keep our cities green, Travis Banks and Darby McGrath of Vineland Research and Innovation Centre will sequence the Norway maple genome to develop a tree that is no longer invasive but which will thrive in polluted soils, withstands extreme temperatures, and suffers few diseases.
Biomonitoring seeks to describe and understand biological diversity at multiple ecological levels, both as a means to learn the typical mix of species that can be found in different habitats, and to establish “biological early-warning systems” that can tell us when environmental stresses are reaching a critical point. Dr. Hajibabaei of the University of Guelph aims to manage national resources through ‘Biomonitoring 2.0’: a system based on DNA-sequencing technology and computational analysis which reduces costs while increasing biological sample knowledge.
A Sector Strategy funded by Genome Canada developed in consultation with sector stakeholders, to map out how the forestry industry can further leverage genomics to its advantage.
Researchers at the Natural Resources Canada Great Lakes Forestry Centre in aim to develop a Bacmid system – a transgenic virus to control a severe pest that causes hundreds of millions of dollars of damage annually.
Canada is a custodian of approximately 10% of the world’s total forests. Occupying nearly 35% of our land mass, they are an enormous renewable resource of importance for recreation, the environment and the economy. Forests contribute approximately $30 billion dollars annually to Canada; about 10% of all the jobs in Canada are forestry-related. Basil Arif of the Great Lakes Forestry Centre, and Arthur Retnakaran of the Government of Canada used genomics to study one of the most devastating forest-insect pests, the spruce budworm. Their project developed a large body of knowledge about the genomics of spruce budworm and many of its naturally occurring viruses in addition to environmentally friendly methods that use insect viruses to control spruce budworm, and a way to produce large amounts of viral proteins that can be used for further development by the pharmaceutical industry, and veterinary and agricultural agencies.