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Scientists in BC and Stockholm collaborate on forestry resources


Ottawa, On March 7, 2003 Two world leading forestry genomics teams from Canada and Sweden have announced a wide-ranging collaboration between their projects.

The partnership allows researchers from both countries to strengthen their research projects by pooling their sequencing data to develop a more powerful and useful database. This combined poplar genomics research will provide insights and potential solutions to protecting and maximizing the value of Canada’s forests, leading to new sustainable strategies for breeding, nurturing and exploiting trees.

The mutually beneficial collaboration is between the University of British Columbia’s Forestry Genomics Group, under the direction of Dr Brian Ellis and three UBC colleagues, and the Swedish Tree Functional Genomics Consortium in Stockholm, under the direction of Dr Gran Sandberg.

"The collaboration between the two large-scale forestry genomics projects focused on poplar, will greatly accelerate our research and will deepen our understanding of tree biology, particularly the genetic responses to stresses, pests and the environment. It also positions Canada and Sweden at the forefront of international research in an area of great importance to both countries", says Dr Ellis.

"This project is extremely important for Sweden. Many researchers are working on this research project and we have received a significant amount of funding to work on this collaborative effort with our colleagues from Canada," says Stefan Jansson, of the Ume Plant Science Centre of Sweden. "We are really pleased to bring to our colleagues a CD-Rom containing 100,000 EST (expressed sequence tags) from the poplar genome, the first of many exchanges to take place between our two groups."

The EST’s gathered by each team are complementary, so by pooling resources, both teams can assemble a joint ‘unigene’ Populus EST collection. This information will provide the two teams with an effective tool to examine tree biology and genetic responses action to stresses, pests and the environment.

The partnership is the direct result of an international scientific cooperation agreement signed between Genome Canada and the Karolinska Institutet in June 2001. Since the signing of the agreement in Stockholm, two collaborative large-scale genomics projects in partnership with Swedish organizations were approved by Genome Canada.

The first two projects were:
1) High-throughput functional genomics using modified nuceic acids (MoNA) with Dr Abou-Elela at the University of Sherbrooke and colleagues at the Karolinska Institutet and the University of Stockholm; and

2) Expression profiles of cells and tissues in C. elegans, with Dr David Baillie at Simon Fraser University and Dr Claes Wahlestadt at the Karolinska Institutet.

These projects have a combined total budget of C$16 million.

This project is the third to be concluded by the two countries. A fourth collaborative project on health research is being discussed and is expected to be announced shortly.