The Potato Gene Repository at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Potato Research Centre in Fredericton is about to enter a new era with a $500,000 lab expansion.
What is a potato gene repository?
Think of it as a bank where more than 150 varieties of potatoes are stored for safe keeping and research. The new laboratory doubles the space and new equipment for storing potato varieties that can be used for potato breeding.
The gene repository collection will be expanded to include newer Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada varieties along with older, historically important heritage cultivars.
The potato gene repository in Fredericton is part of a larger Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's collection of plants, seeds, animals and insects used to help develop new crops for farmers with increased yield better taste and resistance to crop diseases. So, protecting and conserving genetic diversity supports Canadian farmers.
Funding for the Fredericton gene respository expansion was part of a $1.8 million package to modernize federal laboratories in New Brunswick announced last May as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan.
The federal government is committed to an investment of $250-million to modernize federal laboratories.
The United Nations designated 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity and May 22 is international day for biological diversity, so there is cause to celebrate right here in Atlantic Canada.