Latest Projects

Enhancing Canola Through Genomics

Genomics: Helping Increase Crop Yield in Canola
The goal of the Enhancing Canola through Genomics (ECTG) project was to develop and employ genomic tools for the study of seed development and composition in Brassica oilseed crops. During 2003-2004, progress was made in research activities related to seed development and composition and also in areas of collaborations, communications and outreach, thanks to the joint efforts of 67 scientists from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and from the National Research Council. Among this research team, 41 researchers were funded by the project.

Research ResultsResearch Results
Scientists demonstrated canola prototypes with enhanced vigor, increased levels of oil and reduced anti-nutritionals in the meal. Their work will also continue to benefit future scientific studies and accelerate future developments in Canola enhancement since more than 250,000 Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) at different plant development stages will be made available to scientists through GenBank. Additionally, a seed derived microarray with approximately 10,000 unique genes has been developed and is being made available to Canadian researchers. This resource has enabled faster and more targeted breeding activities.

In the seed development activity, a total of 27 cDNA libraries representing different stages of embryo/seed development have been constructed. More than 40,000 ESTs from these libraries were sequenced. Approximately 10,000 unique genes were identified and used for the preparation of a Brassica DNA microarray, an important genomic tool that will be used to improve our understanding of seed development. Preliminary analysis of the EST sequences identified genes that likely play an important role in seed development. These genes are now being studied in more detail.

With regards to seed composition, 17 cruciferin expressed genes were identified and their transcript abundance determined. Strategies are being tested to tailor seeds that produce proteins of greater economic or functional importance. Arabidopsis mutant lines with reduced levels of phytate, sinapine and lignin were identified. The genes controlling these anti-nutrients are being studied for use in Brassica seeds to reduce the level of anti-nutrients and thereby improve the quality and marketability of canola meal.

Notable OutcomesNotable Outcomes
ECTG was valuable for its identification of specific gene traits in Canola, such as oil content, seed size, anti-nutritional level and nitrogen use efficiency.
The project contributed 250,000 ESTs to GenBank, ten times the original target of 25,000. These resources are made publically available to the scientific community that is interested in conducting Brassica research.

Quick Facts

  • Project Leader(s):
    • Wilf Keller
      (Genome Prairie)
  • Project Manager:

    Faouzi Bekkaoui, National Research Council

  • Project Value:

    $8.8 Million

  • Genome Canada Contribution:

    $3.75 Million

  • Other Funding Partners:

    $5.05 Million

  • Project Status:

    Complete (2002 – 2006)

  • Website:
    www.brassicagenomics.ca

Current Projects

2022 - Present

Bison Integrated Genomics (BIG)

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2016-2022

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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