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VRIC, U of G working to improve the petunia


December 23, 2009
By Dave Harrison


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vineland_petuniasDec. 23, 2009, Vineland, Ont. – Dr. Daryl Somers, research
director of applied genomics at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (VRIC),
is working with colleagues Dr. Theo Blom from the University of Guelph and
Wayne Brown from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on
the development of new traits for one of Ontario’s major ornamental species,
the petunia.



Dec. 23, 2009, Vineland, Ont. – Dr. Daryl Somers, research
director of applied genomics at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (VRIC),
is working with colleagues Dr. Theo Blom from the University of Guelph and
Wayne Brown from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs 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 Horticultural Company, 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.      

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 vineland_petunias
 Wayne Brown, Dr. Theo Blom and Dr. Daryl Somers.

The amount of water petunias require is a problem that causes
difficulties for retailers and unnecessary losses for growers. “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,” says Dr. Somers. “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 VRIC CEO Dr. Jim Brandle. “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
both emphasize 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,” said Dr. Kevin Hall, the
university’s vice-president of research. “We also expect that the science
generated through this agreement will have impact within the international
research community.”

Vineland Research and Innovation Centre is an independent,
not-for-profit organization established as a world-class centre for
horticultural science and innovation. In its capacity to enable and foster
relationships with industry, academia and government, Vineland works to deliver
premium horticultural products and production innovations. It brings a global
perspective to the horticulture industry and offers a broad range of lasting
benefits both locally and internationally. Vineland’s research priorities align
with industry needs and its outcomes focus on the growth of the entire
horticulture industry