Toronto, July 27, 2021 – Ontario Genomics announces a total investment of over $39 million into the Large Scale Applied Research Program (LSARP) projects from across Ontario that will help address the impact of climate change and pollution.
Genome Canada announced funding for eight Canadian projects under the Genomic Solutions for Natural Resources and the Environment competition with an overall budget of $58.6 million. Five of the eight projects involve Ontario researchers, with over $39 million of the nationwide budget being received by provincial researchers.
Ontario Genomics plays a vital role in advancing these projects by supporting the development of their proposals, helping them access diverse funding sources, and finding the right industry partners to take this research out of the lab to apply it to the world’s most pressing challenges.
The Global Risks Report 2020 from the World Economic Forum ranked biodiversity loss as one of the top five threats confronting humanity. The University of Guelph’s BIOSCAN-Canada project is harnessing new genomics technologies to make DNA barcoding faster and less expensive. This will help slow biodiversity loss, improve Indigenous relations through consultation, increase the sustainability of our agricultural and forestry sectors, and strengthen Canada’s leadership in global conservation efforts.
“By illuminating biodiversity with genomic approaches, BIOSCAN–Canada will foster environmental sustainability in settings spanning our nation – from agriculture in New Brunswick to forestry in British Columbia and wildlife management in Nunavut.” Dr. Paul Hebert, Director, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph.
In Canada, 29,000 tonnes of plastic leak into the environment and oceans every year, creating severe environmental problems. Another 2.8 million tonnes of plastic are sent to Canadian landfills, which creates a latent problem for future generations. A Queen’s University project is working to drive a shift to a zero-plastic waste future by harnessing genomics technologies to create a circular economy for plastics. This project will identify and engineer bacteria and enzymes that can break down plastics into recyclable components or into valuable fine chemicals more effectively than chemical conversion-based technologies.
“Through open science our team of 21 investigators from across 6 universities will develop a systems approach to innovate toward a zero-waste plastic future: from genomes to new enzymatic processes, fully integrated with environmental, social, economic, and policy research to facilitate uptake.” Dr. Laurence Yang, Assistant Professor, Queen\’s National Scholar in Systems Biology.
In collaboration with Genome Alberta, the TRIA-FoR project will adopt a state-of-the-art multidisciplinary and integrative approach to develop genomics-informed knowledge, tools and application frameworks that mitigate risk for the present mountain pine beetle epidemic and improve resiliency in future epidemics. The current mountain pine beetle epidemic has killed approximately 20 million hectares of mainly lodgepole pine forests in British Columbia and Alberta and this project aims to use genomics-based solutions to help remedy the situation.
Learn more about these LSARP projects:
- Optimizing a Microbial Platform to Break Down and Valorize Waste Plastic
- TRIA-FoR: Transformative Risk Assessment and Forest Resilience Using Genomic Tools for the Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak