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Genome BC funds forestry-related research

Oct. 6, 2011, Vancouver – Genome BC has announced funding for three projects that will use the increasing understanding of the genomics of trees to help address challenges in climate change, fuel shortages, and dwindling natural resources.


October 6, 2011
By Genome BC

Oct. 6, 2011, Vancouver – Genome BC has
announced funding for three projects that will use the increasing understanding
of the genomics of trees to help address challenges in climate change, fuel
shortages, and dwindling natural resources.

The project “Towards a new range of
bioproducts from forest biomass”, led by Drs. Lindsay Eltis and Bill Mohn at
the University of British Columbia (UBC), is exploring the microorganisms found
in soil that naturally degrade biomass, a key component of biofuels. Unlocking
the potential of forest biomass will lead to better forest management practices
and improve the economics of lignin-based products.

"Funding from Genome Canada and Genome
BC provides us with a unique opportunity to increase our understanding of the
degradation of woody biomass by bacteria, and to exploit these activities to
improve forest management practices and the economics of a range of
bioproducts,” says Eltis. “We hope that our research will ultimately contribute
to a more sustainable, economically viable forest products industry. We are
fortunate to have strong partnerships with local and national companies,
something that will facilitate the transfer of technologies from the bench to
industry."

The project “Sprucing up the forestry
industry” is in partnership with Genome Quebec and is led by Dr. Jorg Bohlmann
of UBC and Dr. John Mackay of Université Laval. The research aims to develop
marker technologies to identify spruce seedlings that have superior growth and
wood properties, or increased insect resistance.

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In the project “Adapting to climate
change”, Dr. Sally Aitken, a UBC researcher, is using resources from previous,
more traditional forestry projects in combination with her genomic knowledge of
trees to help address climate-change induced mismatch between the inherent genetics
of trees and the locations where they currently grow for lodgepole pine and
spruce.

Genome BC is funding these three projects
as a result of Genome Canada's 2010 Large-Scale Applied Research Project
Competition. The competition was targeted towards large-scale research projects
focused on the application of genomics research addressing challenges in
forestry and the environment. In this competition, Genome BC researchers were
leaders on eight of 16 projects awarded funding.


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