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Genomics research

Learn about genomics research, strategy, initiatives and projects.

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About genomics research

Genomics is the science that studies:

At Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), genomics research is building the scientific knowledge base and expertise necessary to support fisheries and oceans management.

Genomics research produces:

Together, these activities seek to ensure that DFO decision makers have access to:

Research and development strategy

Through DFO's Aquatic Biotechnology and Genomics Research and Development Strategy, genomics research is advancing Canada's responsibilities for:

Under the strategy, key themes for genomics research include aquatic:

This focus on aquatic ecosystems and organisms is strategically aligned with Canada's responsibilities for:

Research and development initiative

DFO's genomics research is supported by Canada's Genomics Research and Development Initiative. Through the initiative, DFO is currently receiving $2.3 million in funding over 3 years for research projects that contribute to delivery of our mandate.

We're also receiving funding for interdepartmental collaborative research on quarantine and invasive species. This is a new federal shared priority project under the fifth phase of the initiative.

Benefits of genomics

Genomics research makes important contributions to fisheries and oceans management. Genomics tools can identify similar species and assign fish to their population or stock of origin. This helps us address questions that can't be answered using traditional science tools alone, such as:

Applying these tools while managing mixed-stock fisheries increases effectiveness of conserving threatened salmonids by:

Accurate identification is important to:

New information allows scientists to assess the impacts on fish from:

This includes applying innovative approaches to issues, such as:

Current genomics research projects

DFO completed a competitive process to allocate funding for genomics research projects for the fifth phase of the Genomics Research and Development Initiative. This phase lasted from April 2011 to March 2014.

The competitive process resulted in the establishment of 8 projects, including:

  1. Jean-Marie Sévigny:
    • stock delineation of redfish (Sebastes mentella) straddling North Atlantic Fisheries Organization (Subareas 0, 1, 2+3KLMNO) and North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea Subareas XII and XIV) areas based on genetic analyses of archived otoliths
  2. Ian Bradbury and Claudio DiBacco:
    • rapid single nucleotide polymorphisms discovery and genetic mapping using next-generation restriction-site associated DNA sequencing: fostering the tools and expertise for genomic based management in model and non-model marine organisms
  3. Ian Bradbury and Patrick O'Reilly:
    • development of molecular genetic markers for investigations into climate induced selection and usage in genetic mixed stock analysis of Atlantic salmon in the Northwest Atlantic
  4. Corey Morris, John Brattey, Robert Gregory and Ian Bradbury:
    • a genomic and telemetric approach to measure Atlantic cod population structure and its application to marine protected area effectiveness
  5. Kyle Garver:
    • characterization of infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus carrier state in sockeye salmon using genomic tools
  6. Kristi Miller:
    • genomic characterization of physiologically compromised wild salmon
  7. Jim Reist:
    • Arctic fish genomics as 'sentinels' of ecosystem integrity and change
  8. Nellie Gagné, Mark Laflamme, Francis Leblanc and Brian Glebe:
    • Highly polymorphic region 0 non-pathogenic infectious salmon anemia virus in vivo: a comparative genomic study

Genomics research is being actively conducted in 6 regions, with 2 collaborative projects between the Maritimes, and Newfoundland and Labrador Regions.

These projects include extensive collaborations with researchers from:

Projects were successful in leveraging both departmental and external resources, essentially matching DFO's contribution to the initiative.

High impact solutions projects

The Genomics Research and Development Initiative is delivering high impact solutions to shared priority issues through:

We're contributing to interdepartmental research for the protection of Canadian biodiversity and trade from the impacts of global change. This is done through an improved ability to monitor invasive alien and quarantine species.

These 4 projects include:

  1. Sub-project 1: Optimization and standardization of nucleic acid extractions
    • Mark Laflamme
    • Theme 1.1: Mining preserved specimens in reference collections
  2. Sub-project 2: Barcoding of aquatic invasive species of highest risk to Canadian native fauna and trade (Cathryn Abbott, Sub-project Leader)
    • Nellie Gagné and Nicholas Mandrak
      • Theme 2.1: Highest risk invaders in live food and aquarium trade
    • Cathryn Abbott and Tom Therriault
      • Theme 2.2: Highest risk invasive aquatic invertebrates in shipping pathway
    • Gary McClelland
      • Theme 2.3: Highest risk aquatic invasive parasites

Genomics research success stories

DFO genomics research results are available through:

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