Latest Projects

AGILE – Application of Genomics to Innovation in the Lentil Economy

Innovating the growth of lentils
Lentils may be tiny, but they are an outsized source of opportunity for Canadian farmers. Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of lentils, exporting more than $14 billion worth of lentils since 1997. Lentils are eaten around the world, easy-to-cook, and high in protein and micronutrients, thus contributing to global food security.

Lentils have been a success for Canada, because farmers have access to high-quality and high-yielding lentil varieties that are well-adapted to Canada’s climate conditions – a result of a dedicated lentil breeding program in Canada. Breeders, however, have only been able to access a small fraction of the total diversity in existence, which hinders Canadian farmers’ ability to meet the growing global demand.

The goal of AGILE is to provide Canadian farmers with faster access to better lentil varieties that will excel under Canadian growing conditions. The AGILE team will characterize the genetic variability found in an expansive collection of lentils to determine the genetics underlying the ability for lentils to grow well in different global environments. The team, led by Drs. Kirstin Bett and Albert Vandenberg of the University of Saskatchewan, will then develop breeder-friendly genetic markers that can be used to reduce the impact of genes that cause poor adaptation to Canadian conditions while retaining advantageous genes from these strains. The team will also investigate the factors that influence farmer’s decisions to adopt lentil or not in their crop rotation, and develop a strategy to increase Canadian lentil production in a sustainable way.

Output from AGILE is expected to result in a three per cent annual rate of increase in productivity, leading to a $550 million increase in export revenues, thus ensuring Canada’s continued dominance in research, production and marketing of this important crop.

Quick Facts

  • Project Leader(s):
    • Kirstin Bett
      (University of Saskatchewan)
    • Albert Vanderberg
      (University of Saskatchewan)
  • Project Manager:

    Crystal Chan University of Saskatchewan

  • Project Value:

    $7.89 Million

  • Genome Canada Contribution:

    $1.46 Million

  • Other Funding Partners:

    Province of Saskatchewan, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, Western Grains Research Foundation
    $5.01 Million

  • Project Status:

    Completed (2015 - 2019)

  • Competition:

    Genome Canada 2014 Large Scale Applied Research Project Competition

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2022 - Present

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CanCOGeN – Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network

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2021-2024

CPMN – Canadian Prairie Metabolic Network

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2020 - 2022

COV3R – COVID-19 Rapid Regional Response

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2015-2021

CTAG2 – Canadian Triticum Applied Genomics

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2019 to 2023

4DWheat – Diversity, Discovery, Design and Delivery

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2016-2021

EcoToxChip – A toxicogenomics tool for chemical prioritization and environmental management

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2019 - 2023

EVOLVES – Enhancing the Value of Lentil Variation for Ecosystem Survival

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2019 - 2022

FLOWTER – Floating Wetland Treatments to Enhance Remediation

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2016-2022

GENICE II

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2019 - 2023

Genomic ASSETS (Antimicrobial Stewardship Systems from Evidence-based Treatment Strategies) for Livestock

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2016-2022

GENICE: Microbial Genomics for Oil Spill Preparedness in Canada’s Arctic Marine Environment

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2018 - 2021

Improving on-seed survival and performance of legume inoculants using genome shuffling

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