CFIA funding to further DNA-based research with University of Guelph

News Release

Continued collaboration will use DNA barcoding to monitor plant pests and insects that spread agents of animal disease.

September 14, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Scientific partnerships and investments are important aspects of protecting the health of Canadians, our environment and the economy. Today, Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph, on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is investing $320,000 in the University of Guelph's Biodiversity Institute of Ontario to support collaborative research projects. These projects will use DNA barcoding and innovative computer technology to help protect Canada's plants, animals and people from invasive pests and diseases.

The funding will support the continued partnership between the University of Guelph and scientists at the CFIA on a number of projects that will improve diagnostic testing, the agriculture industry's response to emerging threats and meet requirements for international trade.

The first project aims to develop DNA barcoding tools to protect Canadian crops by identifying destructive insect pests. It will also look at using DNA technology to rapidly analyze soil samples for invasive weed seeds, helping to protect plants and seed banks.

The second project will focus on DNA barcoding tools to identify Culicoides midges, disease-carrying insects that affect Canadian livestock. The University of Guelph will also develop software to help track and analyze information relating to animal diseases spread by insects like midges and mosquitoes.


"Safe and accessible food and the protection of Canada's plant and animal resources are essential to the health of Canadians. This partnership builds on Canada's world leadership in genomics and DNA barcoding for detecting and identifying species and will further integrate innovative science into the regulatory world."

– The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

"The Government of Canada remains committed to developing innovative science that enables agriculture to be a leading growth sector of Canada's economy. By working in partnership, we can help meet the world's growing demand for high-quality, sustainable food and help grow our middle class."

– The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

"Our government is committed to supporting Canada's science. The University of Guelph's Biodiversity Institute of Ontario is a leader in its field and we understand that scientists need the best tools and facilities to make the kinds of breakthroughs that lead to new knowledge, technologies, products and services. It's their discoveries and innovations that provide us with the evidence we need to make sound policy decisions that improve our environment, economy, health, climate and communities and that help grow a strong and vibrant
middle class."

– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

"This research enables the University of Guelph to build on their partnership with the CFIA, to demonstrate their expertise in DNA barcoding research and their commitment to developing exceptional students and future researchers."

– Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph

"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

Quick Facts

  • Funding was provided under the CFIA's Federal Assistance Program, which supports projects that advance the Agency's mandate to safeguard food, animals and plants, enhancing the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment and economy.

  • This is the second Federal Assistance Program agreement signed between the CFIA and University of Guelph. The previous project (2015-2016) developed a DNA barcoding training program that identified invasive species and mislabelled fish and seafood.

  • 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 and is being used worldwide to identify species, fight diseases, expose market fraud and monitor the environment.

Associated Links


CFIA Media Relations
Follow the CFIA on social media
Twitter: @CFIA_Canada

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: