and the Environment
Why do we hear so many stories about the environment in the media? Perhaps it’s because we are facing challenges such as climate change, dwindling natural resources and increasing pollution. You may not know this, but genomics has great potential to solve these problems.
Genomics to the rescue of natural resources
The rapid pace of globalization has clearly taken a toll on the environment. This makes sustainable development more important than ever. Fortunately, genomics is generating a number of biological solutions to address environmental issues. These solutions will give governments and corporations a chance to make greener choices.
Did you know that genomics research on microorganisms like cyanobacteria could help save the planet from global warming? These tiny, yet highly evolved microorganisms, can convert atmospheric CO2 into organic compounds without producing greenhouse gases. Researchers in environmental genomics are currently looking for ways to apply this knowledge to the problem of global warming. Through a better understanding of the molecular biology of plants and microorganisms, we can enhance our ability to develop solutions to the challenges of climate change.
Source : Genome Canada
For example, genomics is making it possible to:
- Develop new energy sources (biofuels);
- Design tools to control environmental pollutants
- Decontaminate polluted soils
In forestry, genomics aims to:
- Promote and preserve our forests' natural genetic diversity
- Identify strengths and weaknesses of each species of conifers studied
- Develop more sustainable and efficient biological controls
- Predict onset of infestation and dispersion of insects
In a word, genomics paves the way to environmental solutions that are more cost-efficient to the industry while ensuring the sustainability of our natural resources.
Real results in forestry
- Scientists are hard at work developing tools to identify the best trees for reforestation (growth, wood quality, adaptability, etc.). Promising genetic markers have already been singled out. In fact, many varieties of genetically selected crops can now more effectively resist pests and diseases.
- Through initiatives spearheaded by Québec universities, among them the Arborea project, the forest industry can boost its productivity and competitive edge in coming years, while contributing to the sustainable development of our forests.
In the near future, greater knowledge and new genomics tools for use in forestry will make it possible to anticipate and offset the impact of climate change in Québec, preserve the genetic and biological diversity of our natural resources and optimize the capture of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Of course, these scientific advances are compatible with the principles of sustainable development and bring new prospects for a healthier environment and a brighter future.
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