Sequence Issue #3: Clustering, Cannabis & Cleaning Up

Published: November 30th 2017


Recently, Genome Atlantic attended an information session on Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, aimed at small and medium businesses who play a vital role in Atlantic Canada’s ocean economy. The session was well attended by business operators who came to find out more and how they can get involved. It’s exciting to see how the supercluster concept is bringing together ocean companies of every size across our region.

The Ocean Supercluster is one of nine potential superclusters shortlisted recently by the federal government which has committed to invest up to $950 million between 2017-2022 to support up to five business-led supercluster initiatives with the potential to super-charge the economy. Biotechnology and genomics are among the cross-cutting, enabling technologies identified as components of the ocean supercluster vision. (Our last issue of Sequence highlighted several large-scale genomics applications in ocean-related industries.)

This is an unprecedented opportunity for Atlantic Canada and for our ocean industries and businesses. You can find out more at the Canada’s Ocean Supercluster website.

Read more about all nine shortlisted supercluster projects.

Cannabis and public policy

The legalization of recreational cannabis is another huge public policy issue. This Fall, Genome Atlantic co-hosted a panel of experts that included the Honourable Anne McLellan, Chair of Canada’s Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, to examine some key topics around the coming legislation, including health and genetics. Check out the full panel discussion video at the end of the article – worthwhile viewing for anyone interested in the issue.

The plunging cost of DNA sequencing has given rise to more genetic tests that help doctors identify best treatments for a range of conditions from genetic disorders to many kinds of cancers.  But genetic tests have a potentially thorny side too.  Recently, Canadian parliamentarians grappled with whether employers, insurance companies, and others could require an employee, client or customer to undergo genetic testing and divulge the results.  To get the inside story, we talked to the man behind Canada’s Genetic Non-Discrimination Act, Senator James Cowan.

Clean up and the power of microbes.

Offshore Technology magazine recently took a deep dive into the role of microorganisms in the offshore oil and gas industry while The Chemical Institute of Canada Magazine focused in on Microbiologically-Influenced Corrosion (MIC), a costly phenomenon that damages pipelines and offshore production and gathering lines. Another recent article, in Canadian Reclamation magazine, highlights three recent examples of how genomics is becoming an increasingly important part of environmental monitoring and cleanup. And speaking of cleanup, a team of Dalhousie University students are using a surprising substance – porcupine scat – to help transform the pulp and paper industry’s cellulose waste into a profitable biofuel on a commercial scale? Genome Atlantic is pleased to be a partner in much of the ground-breaking work highlighted.

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