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Plant genome projects get $2.4M in funding


Saskatoon, SK – Four Genome Prairie research projects have received a total of $2.4 million in funding from Saskatchewan’s ministry of agriculture. The projects include flax genomics and the commercialization of agricultural products.

Funding for the flax project, called Total Utilization of Flax Genomics (TUFGEN), is $1.2 million. Funding for the commercialization project, called Value Generation through Genomics (VALGEN), is $680,000.

The funding also includes $77,200 for research into Microbial Genomics for Biofuels and BioProducts, a project undertaken with the University of Manitoba, and $470,000 for a project examining Synthetic BioSystems for the Production of High Value Plant Metabolites at the National Research Council’s Plant Biotechnology Institute in Saskatoon.

VALGEN project co-leader Dr Peter Phillips of the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy located at Saskatchewan’s two universities said, “VALGEN will help new products and technologies realize their economic and social potential. The project will also help identify solutions to problems that may arise.”

TUFGEN project co-leader Dr Gordon Rowland of the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources said the project’s goals are to develop flax as a dual-purpose crop and to sequence the flax genome. “This is an invaluable contribution to flax research that will help to increase its value for producers.”