The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology) along with Bernard Trottier, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for La Francophonie and Member of Parliament for Etobicoke Lakeshore, and Genome Canada Board Chair Lorne Hepworth announced the successful projects in the latest GAPP funding round.
The Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP) funds research projects that address real world challenges and opportunities as identified by industry, government, not-for-profits, and other “users” of genomics research. One of the 4 successful projects funded is based here in Alberta.
GAPP projects partner academic researchers with companies that make use of genomics as part of their business model and in the case of Randall Weselake's research out of the University of Alberta, the partner is U.S. based Arcadia Biosciences
The project on the "Application of Genomics for Increasing Seed Oil Content in Soybean
" is being co-led by Vic Knauf of Arcadia and will receive $339,000 from Genome Canada for the work.
The research team will be building on Weselake's existing research to find ways to squeeze more oil out of protein-rich soybeans. The oil usually makes accounts for 18 to 20 percent of the seed and is being used more and more in cooking oil, processed foods, and for industrial purposes. Soybeans that produce more oil means more money for farmers, seed companies, and processors. The global soybean market is worth 4.5 billion annually. For Canada’s soybean agricultural sector, the higher producing seeds are expected to produce up to $68 million in additional annual value. At the same time, higher oil yields should lead to greater land efficiency, thereby increasing environmental sustainability.
The project will use genome analysis to isolate soybean seed trait targets with the potential to stimulate enhanced oil production without negatively affecting protein levels. Arcadia Biosciences will leverage proprietary non-genetically modified tools and genetics resources to rapidly validate the best targets and lead the commercialization of the findings throughout North and South America.
You can hear more on the project from Randy Weselake in this interview on QR 77 News/Talk Radio
which aired in Alberta on June 7, 2015.
The Round 3 projects involve researchers at institutions based in Ontario (Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the University of Toronto), Quebec (Université Laval) and Alberta (University of Alberta). They involve partners from the agriculture, healthcare and forestry sectors.