Exploiting the Full Potential of Next Generation DNA Sequencing for Crop Improvement

The global population is booming. New projections put the number of humans at 9.6 billion by 2050 —a rise of 2.6 billion from the 2013 population of 7.1 billion.

With this comes a growing demand for healthy food. We need to create more of it, while still maintaining a healthy ecological balance.

Genomics can play a big role in this challenge. It can improve on current breeding methods, which are laborious, time-consuming and expensive so that we can develop new disease-resistant crops that provide higher yields and require fewer chemicals to grow.

Sean Myles, PhD, Canada Research Chair in Agricultural Genetic Diversity, Dalhousie University is tackling this challenge head-on. His project team is making sense of the enormous amounts of data generated from modern DNA sequencing technologies. It’s developing user-friendly, genomics-assisted breeding software that can accelerate the development of improved agricultural products.

This $250K project was part of the 2013 Genome Canada competition on Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.