Government of Canada contributes to world-class research on species identification

News Release

Funding to support genomics research in plant protection and food safety

2016-01-14 – Guelph, Ontario – Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, today announced an investment from the Government of Canada to support the use of genomics research in plant protection and food safety regulation.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the University of Guelph's Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (U of G – BIO) will partner to create tools to use genomics and DNA barcoding to improve species identification for early detection of plant pests and mislabelled fish and seafood. Additionally, the funding will support the development of a program to help enhance cooperation between CFIA and (U of G – BIO) scientists, leverage opportunities in genomics to modernize regulatory programs, and prevent entry of invasive plant pests.   

The CFIA is contributing $323,000 over 18 months to support this collaboration. Canada is at the forefront of genomics and DNA barcoding for species detection and identification. The ability to accurately detect and identify species is a key component to ensuring a safe and accessible food supply and plant resource base.

Quick facts

  • The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph is the birthplace of the field of DNA barcoding.
  • DNA barcoding uses short standardized DNA sequences to identify and differentiate species.
  • There is worldwide interest in the potential applications of DNA barcodes for use in regulatory and research settings.


"Canada is proud to invest in this important research that applies genomics to protecting our food supply and environment. These projects demonstrate our commitment to using the best science to deliver evidence-based results that Canadians expect from our regulatory institutions."
The Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health
"Our partnership with the CFIA will enable the University of Guelph to leverage opportunities in genomics that will modernize regulatory programs. We look forward to the exciting outcomes of this world-class scientific collaboration."
Malcolm Campbell
Vice-President, Research, University of Guelph

Additional links


Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Media Relations Unit

Office of the Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health
Press Secretary
Andrew MacKendrick

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