2009-08-01 – It takes decades of conventional breeding techniques to cultivate better plant varieties, especially when complex traits are controlled by more than one gene and genetic activity is little understood. But all that could soon change. Combining the strengths of genomics and bioinformatics, scientists at the NRC Plant Biotechnology Institute (NRC-PBI) in Saskatoon are breaking new ground in developing crop varieties with improved agronomical and nutritional traits.
NRC-PBI has been studying oilseed crop genomics for the last six years. “We’ve gained considerable knowledge about the relationship between genes and the biochemical and molecular factors that regulate seed development and composition,” says Dr. Faouzi Bekkaoui, a senior researcher at NRC-PBI. “Our goal is to identify all the genes and their functions in canola, and genetically manipulate them to produce even greater gains.”