In the past five years alone, huge amounts of data have been generated for 15 plant species important for Canada, including poplar, maize, rice, barley, wheat, soybeans and tomatoes. Being able to efficiently use these data will be key to improving and managing these crops to feed, shelter and power a world of 9 billion people by the year 2050.
The ePlant Framework, developed under a previous Genome Canada grant, permits researchers to easily see where and when a gene is “active” and whether there are natural genetic variants that might allow it to do its “job” better; populated only with one species, it now needs data from more species. Lead researcher Dr. Nicholas Provart (University of Toronto) plans to develop an ePlant Pipeline to facilitate the ability to create any ePlant, based on genomic or exome sequence data. The ePlant Navigator will permit cross-cultivar and cross-species comparisons, supporting robust hypothesis generation. Easy access to these data sets will enable researchers to explore genetic diversity, gene expression, and other data for important genes towards crop improvement.