Researchers work to improve the petunia

September 10, 2009
Sept. 10, 2009 – Researchers from the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and the University of Guelph will begin work on the development of new traits for one of Ontario's major ornamental species, the petunia. This multi-year research program supported by Flowers Canada (Ontario) and Ball Horticulture Co. sets into motion the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, University of Guelph Partnership Agreement, a five year collaboration centered on industry-driven research priorities for Canadian horticulture.

The amount of water petunias require is a problem that causes difficulties for retailers and unnecessary losses for growers. As Dr. Daryl Somers, Research Director of Applied Genomics at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, stated, "Taking a genomics approach we will search for value added traits such as drought tolerance and reduced dormancy to improve the quality and production of ornamental species. This research will also position Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and the University of Guelph for continued success in breeding of both ornamental and vegetable species."

"This is an important project to defining Vineland's industry value," said Dr. Jim Brandle, CEO, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. "Finding solutions to horticultural challenges is exactly what drives our science. We begin by working with industry partners from growers through to retailers to better understand where the gaps are causing profit loss and frustration. By utilizing research partnerships we are able to apply leading edge science to tailor a solution."

Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and the University of Guelph concur that research must be responsive to industry in order to foster innovation and improved competitiveness for Canadian agriculture. "The University of Guelph is committed to building a research partnership with Vineland Research and Innovation Centre that makes a difference to horticultural businesses across the country. We also expect that the science generated through this agreement will have impact within the international research community," said Dr. Kevin Hall, VP Research, University of Guelph.

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