Genome Canada Annual Report 2016-17 14 I n the same way that DNA testing has revolutionized criminology, genomics has transformed envi- ronmental research, enabling us to solve mysteries that could otherwise pose significant public health risks. One of those problems is the growing contamination risk posed to Canada’s drinking water by blue- green algae blooms. The algae, known as cyanobacteria, have under- gone a reproductive boom fuelled by global warming and increased phosphorous use. This explosion has choked food chains and disrupted fisheries from the Great Lakes to the Yellow Sea. The proliferation of algae has fuelled activism by business and environmental groups, added to the litany of indirect effects of climate change and generated an annual springtime gallery of close-up and satellite photos of blue-green shore- line blobs from around the world. Algae blooms are estimated to cost $825 million annually in damages in the United States alone. As with most environmental dis- ruptions, algae blooms pose a risk not only to animal life – by causing hypoxia as a result of consuming disproportionate amounts of oxygen and creating vast “dead zones” – but to human health as well, by releasing cyanotoxins into the water supply that can cause illness and even death. The Genome Canada-funded project Algal Blooms, Treatment, Risk Assessment, Prediction and Prevention through Genomics (ATRAPP) will leverage the science safe water Canadians take safe drinking water for granted. But a combination of chemicals and climate change have made blue-green algae blooms a threat to that safety, and investment in preventing toxic outbreaks a necessity.