Scientific partnerships and investments are important aspects of protecting the health of Canadians, not to mention this country’s environment and economy. Lloyd Longfield, a member of parliament for Guelph, on behalf of the Honorable 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.