ARCHIVED - Decoding Canola's DNA

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October 07, 2007— Ottawa, Ontario

Canola oil

Canadians have provided GenBank, the global DNA bank, with a major injection of DNA sequences for "Canada's plant." Building on a long-standing partnership, teams of federal researchers from NRC and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) made the single largest deposit ever of DNA sequences for Brassica napus (canola) and related species.

This major submission marks nearly 90 percent of all submitted Brassica expressed sequence tags. These new additions – 437,000 tags from NRC and 160,000 from AAFC – are especially timely, because they will be valuable for helping annotate the Brassica rapa genome, which is being sequenced as part of an international research community effort.

"Genome Canada is enthusiastic about the results of this genomics research, which will bring improvements not only to Canada's food and agriculture industry but to every citizen through health and economic advancements," said Dr. Martin Godbout, President and CEO of Genome Canada. Canola accounts for an annual economic value of approximately $11 billion for Canada's agri-food industry.

Most Canadians recognize the benefits of canola as a high quality and healthy vegetable oil used for cooking, salad dressing and margarine. But this versatile oil is now gaining prominence as a potential ingredient for manufacturing environmentally friendly products such as bioplastics and biodiesel.

In a world concerned with renewable fuels, canola and its derivatives present a valuable opportunity to address issues of climate change. This vital crop is particularly well positioned to serve as a feedstock to fulfill the targets of Canada's pending Clean Air Act that will require two percent biodiesel blends in diesel and heating oil by 2012.

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