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Genomics research project to sequence Listeria strains


Edmonton, AB – A new $1.4 million project will sequence and map the genomes of many Listeria strains to identify those strains that are likely to be most harmful to human health as well as those most likely to survive in food processing facilities. The project will be led by Dr. Linda Chui of the University of Alberta.

Through this joint research effort, a database of Listeria genome sequences will be developed and genetic markers identified. These markers will be used to rapidly spot harmful Listeria strains in foods and food processing facilities.

The 18-month research project is receiving $250,000 each from Genome Canada (via Genome Alberta) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and $100,000 from Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions. Co-funding from federal, provincial, academic and industry partners, including Maple Leaf Foods, increases total funding to $1.4 million.

“The strength of our project is in the world-class expertise of the research team and the support of many distinguished organizations from across Canada,” said Dr. Chui. “The different researchers on the team bring leading-edge expertise in many areas including food sample preparation, assays development, state-of-the art capacity in bioinformatics and genomics, pathogen detection and outbreak response.”