Our history

Génome Québec, a non-profit organization, was established in 2000. Since its inception, it has helped Québec make great strides in genomics research. Over the years, projects funded by Génome Québec and its Innovation Centre have made significant contributions to many areas of activity. That is why genomics is now considered to be the great white hope of economic development, particularly in healthagrifoodforestry and the environment.


A few highlights from the history of Génome Québec and genomics in Canada.



  • The Arborea project, a global benchmark for the development of forest genomics, begins (photo: John MacKay et Jean Bousquet)

  • Researchers from around the world come together to create the International HapMap Project aimed at developing a valuable resource for the discovery of disease-causing genes

  • Ten large-scale projects are launched (Competition II – Genome Canada)


  • The McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre opens its doors


  • 2004

    Launch of a project to develop new diagnostic tests to rapidly identify (less than one hour) microbes responsible for infections (photo: Michel G. Bergeron, Université Laval)

  • Four large-scale projects are launched (Applied Genomics and Proteomics Research in Human Health Competition – Genome Canada)

  • 2004

    The P3G international consortium,a public population genomics project is initiated and chaired by Tom Hudson and Bartha Maria Knoppers (photo: Tom Hudson et Bartha Maria Knoppers)


  • 2005

    HapMap releases the first comprehensive catalogue of human genetic variations, a historic milestone that is accelerating the pace of research into genes associated with common diseases (photo: Tom Hudson and Bartha Maria Knoppers)

  • Québec researchers identify the genetic code of a highly virulent strain of C. difficile (Ken Dewar, McGill University)

  • The Geee! in Genome interactive exhibition is presented at the Montréal Science Centre


  • 2006

    Génome Québec launches the PRIVAC competition thanks to funding by the Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade. The program aims to finance collaborative genomics research between private and academic partners

  • A new therapeutic target for treating HIV is identified


  • Génome Québec and Héma-Québec announce the creation of a database with 22,000 genotyped donors to facilitate the screening of compatible blood

  • HapMap publishes the second generation haplotype map of the human genome containing three times more genetic markers than the 2005 version

  • CARTaGENE, a databank of biological material specific to Québec, is created

  • A major international biobank is launched in the Saguenay region

  • Four large-scale projects are initiated (PRIVAC Competition – Génome Québec)

  • 2007

    The McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre becomes the first Canadian organization to offer high throughput sequencing.


  • The Centre of Excellence in Personalized Medicine is founded jointly with the Montreal Heart Institute

  • Researchers make a breakthrough in the area of HIV when they identify a protein that combats immunodeficiency

  • Two research projects are initiated (Development of New Technologies Competition – Genome Canada)

  • 2008

    The McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre becomes the world’s first Sequenom centre of excellence!


  • 2009

    Discovery of a gene that causes resistance to insulin - a breakthrough by an international team of researchers (photo: Rob Sladek, McGill University)

  • The Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade announces funding, which leads to the launch of four programs in support of genomics research in Québec

  • Recruitment of participants for the CARTaGENE project begins


  • 2010

    Researchers discover a gene associated with a common type of migraine which affects more than six million Canadians (photo: Guy Rouleau, McGill University)

  • Génome Québec celebrates its 10th anniversary

  • The McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre obtains Illumina CSProTM certification for four applications, a Canadian first

  • The CARTaGENE recruitment phase ends on a successful note, after reaching its goal of 20,000 Québec participants

  • Nineteen genomics research projects are launched (Génome Québec Competitions)


  • 2011

    Discovery of two genetic mutations that explain the ineffectiveness of conventional treatments against a deadly form of brain cancer in children and adolescents (Photo: Nada Jabado, Université McGill)

  • Mark Lathrop is appointed Scientific Director of the McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre


  • New funding awarded to the the McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre (2010 Competition: Science and Technology Innovation Centre Operations Support - Genome Canada)

  • Launch of Génome Québec's new Website - 2.0 version

  • Launch of CARTaGENE phase 2 recruitment




  • 2015
  • 2015

    Génome Québec marks its 15-year anniversary - The event was attended by representatives from the scientific community, the Government of Québec and many partners (photo: Rémi Quirion, Martin Godbout, Carlos J. Leitão, Marc LePage)

  • 15 years of genomics! See this microsite developed by Génome Québec to showcase 15 years of history in genomics research.

    Quick look at 15 years of history!

  • 2015

    Genomics working for Québec’s agrifood industry - Two team of Québec researchers received funding to fight salmonellosis and improve soybean production. These projects, focused on food safety, security and optimized food production, will have a positive impact on both the local and world population (photos: Richard Bélanger et François Belzile, Université Laval - Roger C. Levesque, Université Laval and Lawrence Goodridge, Université McGill)

  • Cutting-edge genomics: Québec secures one-third of the federal envelope • A total of 4 Québec nodes out of 10 in Canada were selected (researchers and their teams: Philip Awadalla of CHU Sainte-Justine – Université de Montréal, Guillaume Bourque of McGill University, Mark Lathrop of the McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre and Pierre Thibault of the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer of Université de Montréal)

  • 2015

    Génome Québec holds a scientific café on bioremediation for a green soil decontamination (photo: Mohamed Hijri and Michel Labrecque - Université de Montréal and Michel Rochon - Radio-Canada)


  • 2016

    Funding of a Québec project which will allow for the development of a new test to rapidly diagnose infections (Photo: Michel G. Bergeron, Université Laval et Patrice Allibert, GenePOC)

  • 2016
  • Big data: Québec stands out in genomics in the fields of bioinformatics and computational biology -Teams of François Major (Université de Montréal) and Thomas Duchaine (McGill University), Jesse Shapiro (Université de Montréal) and Luis Barreiro (CHU Sainte-Justine), and the team headed by Jérôme Waldispühl (McGill University) who will undertake two projects, one with Nicolas Moitessier (McGill University) and another with Olivier Tremblay-Savard (University of Manitoba).

  • Two Québec projects win under the GAPP 6th cycle - The teams of Pierre Thibault of Université de Montréal with Jean-Jacques Dunyach of Thermo Fisher Scientific. The second team is led by Claude Robert of Université Laval with Brian Sullivan of the Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement Inc., Marquis Roy of Olymel S.E.C./L.P. and Claude Vielfaure of HyLife Ltd.

  • 2016

    Organization of the event L'ADN à l'Assemblée nationale in Québec (11 teams of researchers from 4 strategic sectors presented their project to members of the Assemblée nationale and representatives from cabinets and ministries, from all parties)

  • 2016

    Announcement of results for the Genome Canada Competition Natural Resources and the Environment: Sector challenges - genomics solutions - the teams of Sébastien Sauvé (Université de Montréal) and Niladri Basu (McGill University) were particularly successful. Among co-funded teams, Québec has also emerged as a strong leader in the forestry sector, with the pan-Canadian projects spearheaded by Jean Bousquet, Richard Hamelin and Ilga Porth, all from Université Laval

  • 2016

    Québec Researchers Ahead of the Curve in Disruptive Technologies - Results of the Genome Canada competition Disruptive Innovation in Genomics - the five winning Québec projects are: Santiago Costantino (Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont), David Juncker (McGill University), Éric Lécuyer (IRCM), Mark Trifiro (Hôpital général juif) and Michael Tyers (Université de Montréal)

  • 2016

    Génome Québec holds a scientific café on the advances of genomic technologies (photo: Roger C. Levesque, Université Laval - Daniel Tessier, Innovation Centre and Michel Rochon, Radio-Canada)