Canada’s growing bioeconomy rooted in historic 1953 discovery of DNA’s double helix
Today Canada’s genomics enterprise marks the landmark discovery of DNA’s double helix structure, published in Nature by James Watson and Francis Crick in April 1953. The discovery – arguably one of the most important of the 20th century – answered a fundamental mystery about how living organisms pass genetic instructions from generation to generation, and eventually enabled later researchers to understand the genetic code. DNA Day also marks the April 2003 announcement of the completion of the Human Genome Project, an international scientific research project allowing us to read nature’s complete genetic blueprint for building a human being.
Canadian genomics researchers are building on these foundational discoveries and their advances are helping to solve complex biological challenges across sectors as diverse as health, agri-food, forestry, fisheries, energy, mining and the environment. The results are saving lives and combating disease, improving food safety and production to feed the world’s growing population, protecting our natural resources from climate change, invasive species and other threats and enabling us to mitigate environmental damage from resource extraction.
Moreover, genomics is equipping Canadian businesses with cutting-edge science and technologies that are driving economic growth, improving competitiveness, increasing productivity and creating high-quality jobs. It’s the foundation of Canada’s growing bioeconomy, which is expected to account for about 2.25 per cent of Canada’s GDP by 2017, according to the Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
Canada boasts a thriving genomics research enterprise thanks to sustained federal investments, which Genome Canada has leveraged to co-fund more than 192 large-scale research initiatives across Canada.
Canada is recognized as a world leader in genomics in many respects, including our major role in international consortia, our research publication output, our ability to create or enhance new companies, and our unique contributions to research into the ethical, environmental, economic, legal and social questions related to genomics.
Genome Canada and the Genome Centres are proud to be sponsoring Let`s Talk DNA – a day-long online forum hosted by Let’s Talk Science and Genome Alberta, where students, teachers and the public can learn more about genetics and genomics from Canadian experts. Student questions will be answered live by Canadian experts and videos from the experts will be available throughout the day. To join the online forum visit: http://letstalkdna.ca/