CRISPR-based precision breeding of semi-dwarf high-performance hops

Traditional breeding of agricultural plants is based on repeated self fertilization of large number of parental plants followed by screening larger offspring populations to uncover random natural or induced genetic variants with a desired trait. This approach can take many years and considerable resources to complete. This approach cannot directly be applied to hops breeding as hops have separate female and male individuals, preventing self fertilization. As a consequence, hops breeding is relatively undeveloped.

Evaluating effects of local, landscape, and regional factors on Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) nest survival

The bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) is a migratory songbird that is currently a species at risk in Canada due to steep population declines. Because bobolink nest on the ground in pastures, hayfields, and other grassland-type habitats, nest success and abundance may be influenced by various environmental factors. Our goal is to understand whether these factors directly or indirectly affect bobolink nest success. This is important as it will contribute to filling current knowledge gaps regarding bobolink breeding success.

Quantifying fish-turbine spatio-temporal overlap for assessing risk to migratory fishes using VEMCO’s new high residency acoustic electronic tagging technology

The lack of scientific data on the potential effects of instream tidal power is delaying the decision-making process on a technology that shows promise for reducing carbon emissions, and for which Canada could become a global leader in the production of infrastructure. It remains unclear if fishes that occupy Canada’s leading tidal energy test site will be negatively affected by turbine installations. The objective here is to determine spatial and temporal overlap of fishes with areas scheduled for turbine deployment.

Quantifying fish-turbine interactions using VEMCO’s new high residency acoustic electronic tagging technology

It remains unclear if fishes that occupy Canada’s leading tidal energy test site in Minas Passage, Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, will be negatively affected by turbine installations. The objective of this project is to determine fishes’ interactions with operating turbines. Of approximately 70 species of fishes that interact with Minas Passage only three have abundance estimates (Gaspereau River Alewife; Shubenacadie River Striped Bass; Saint John River Atlantic Sturgeon) that are necessary to predict effects at the population level.

Phenotyping and genotyping collection of Cannabis sativa lines

Upcoming legalization of marijuana provides many opportunities for all Canadians. Licensed Producers (LPs) are the main providers of medicinal cannabis to patients and will be the main suppliers for recreational market. The significant disadvantage in the current environment is the limited number of strains available to LPs. Sundial Growers have acquired a collection of Cannabis sativa lines. There is little to no information on these lines.

Harnessing the power of horizontal gene transfer for yeast strain development - Year two

Yeast are used on a massive scale in many industrial settings, such as production of food and beverages, nutrient supplements, pharmaceuticals, and others, totaling over $5 billion dollars in annual market value. Most yeasts currently used for industrial purposes are taken directly from nature and not optimized for the specific process requirements of industry. Currently, many tools for strain improvements require genetic modification of organisms, which does not allow for a non-GMO “clean” labeling.

Using bioelectrochemical approaches to study microbes associated with oil and gas operations

Microbial activities in oil and gas operations can be beneficial or detrimental which economically impact the energy industry. Microorganisms can be responsible for souring and microbiologically influenced corrosion which damage oil and gas infrastructure, but they can also play a beneficial role in enhancing energy production, recovering chemicals from waste streams, bioremediation, and biofuel production. The threat of global warming and diminishing fossil fuel resources is creating an ever-increasing drive to implement new technologies for renewable fuel production.

Integrating biodiversity functional guild responses to land use and climate change in natural heritage system update

Urbanization continues to drive the land conversion from natural areas to urban uses dominated by impermeable surfaces. This conversion has direct and indirect impacts on ecosystem services that are critical for a sustainable and resilient ecosystem as well as human wellbeing. Habitat removal and fragmentation accelerate biodiversity loss in urban landscapes. Additionally, climate change exacerbates these impacts even further. Hence, green infrastructure is also becoming more common in urban landscapes to offset negative urbanization impacts.

Treating the Untreatable: Targeting Paediatric Brain Tumours with Multi-omics and Drug Discovery

Brain tumours, including ependymoma, are some of the most difficult cancers to treat. Although the past few years have seen many exciting advances in characterizing these brain tumours, there are few effective therapies available for patients, many of whom are children and young adults (and for whom long-term side effects can be extremely damaging). Until very recently, research in this area has been hampered by a complete lack of cell lines and animal models.

Optimizing G protein-coupled receptor assays for autoimmune diagnostics

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest family of membrane proteins and are involved in various disease including hypertension and airway diseases. With >30% of the prescription drugs targeting GPCRs, they have immense therapeutic importance. The detection of antibodies against GPCRs in these diseases has been a challenging task due to the lack of efficient detection assays, which are easy to use and economically available. The company Acudex has a long-term interest in the development of GPCR assays for autoimmune diseases.