Canada using DNA technologies to speed up agricultural imports and exports

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In Canada, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food announced that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is using DNA-based technologies to help speed up the import and export of fruit plants. Testing for plant viruses takes about three years to complete which slows down trade for fruit plants, but using new DNA testing will help speed it up by up to two and a half years.

One project will shorten the testing period of seeds, cuttings and bulbs imported into Canada using DNS technology to test for all related viruses. The second project will test for multiple viruses in Canada’s strawberry plants (valued at $17 million) in one test rather than the usual multiple tests that increase cost and time to get plants to market. The projects are part of a collaboration with Genome British Columbia to look at how DNA technologies can protect Canadian plants.