CFIA and AAFC Collaborating on Key Plant Health Research in BC

August 13, 2013, Ottawa: Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researchers are joining forces to support Canada's horticulture industry. This collaborative plant health research is being carried out in British Columbia at the Sidney Centre for Plant Health and the Pacific Agri-food Research Centre in Summerland. In this venture, CFIA and AAFC researchers and staff are working closely and collaborating on joint research priorities to improve efficiencies and share critical knowledge and expertise in matters of plant health.

The joint research projects are allowing CFIA and AAFC to join synergies and combine efficiencies between their two respective laboratories and this will allow the Sidney Laboratory to continue in its work without further reductions as announced in 2012. The Sidney Laboratory will continue to serve as an important centre for plant health research, as well as a post-entry quarantine facility.

"Finding efficiencies is not an easy undertaking but I am pleased that in the case of the Sidney and Summerland laboratories we have found a collaborative arrangement that will render economic efficiencies to keep the laboratories sustainable while also ensuring that Canadian producers are receiving the scientific support they require to remain competitive and prosper," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

One of the components of this joint venture is part of the Government of Canada's Genomics Research and Development Initiative. A research team including CFIA and AAFC scientists is adding thousands of DNA barcodes to national and international databases. DNA barcoding identifies a short genetic sequence that will allow for more rapid and accurate identification of harmful organisms that will help limit damage in plant material and prevent unnecessary trade disruptions at Canada's borders.

Another joint research project of the two centres is the study of Plum Pox virus and methodologies for eliminating this virus from infected plant material. The two centres have also undertaken a molecular study of plant virus infection processes to assist in the development of new strategies for disease control.

The projects will receive $1.3 million in funding, over five years.

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health of Canada's plants, and the ongoing innovative science that is being carried out at the Sidney Laboratory and Summerland Laboratory.

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For information:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency                 
Media relations: 613-773-6600

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