2011-01-28

Connecting the Dots in Western Canadian Mountain Pine Beetle Research

Genome Alberta has been active in Mountain Pine Beetle research since 2008 when we got together with variety of partners to establish the Tria Project. These partners include Genome B.C., the University of Northern B.C., University of British Columbia, and the Canadian Forest Service. The work is funded under Genome Canada’s competition in Applied Genomics Research in Bioproducts or Crops (affectionately known as the ABC Competition ) with co-funding provided by Genome British Columbia, Genome Alberta, and the University of Alberta and it was all kickstarted with funding from the Province of Alberta.

The team has been doing some great work looking at the interaction between the bark beetles, fungal pathogens and the host pine trees. Though our team was not directly involved in a paper published this week (see the full news release below), Tria Project leader Dr. Janice Cooke from the University of Alberta said, "the data from this study is being used by our Alberta team to identify genetic variants of Grosmannia clavigera that are found in Alberta and determine how the presence of these variants might affect mountain pine beetle spread. These data are also important in our studies of other related fungi that are also associated with mountain pine beetle that are more prevalent in Alberta than in BC."

One of the co-authors of the new paper is Dr. Joerg Bohlmann, a professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories at UBC. He also happens to be a co-leader of the Tria Project with Dr. Janice Cooke so the information and knowledge being collected across the projects is benefiting all Mountain Pine Beetle research.