CFIA will use DNA technology to verify health of fruit plants

Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, announced that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will lead two projects worth $500,000 that use new DNA-based technologies to reduce quarantine testing time.

The import and export of fruit plants must go through the CFIA to test for potentially devastating plant viruses. Currently, this testing and quarantine process takes a long time.

The first project will dramatically shorten the testing period of seeds, cuttings and bulbs imported into Canada to grow new varieties of plants. With this funding, scientists will use DNA technology to test for all viruses associated with imported plants to get an early indication of any plant diseases present.

The second project streamlines the testing of strawberry plants. Traditionally, multiple tests for viruses are required before exporting strawberry plants to foreign markets. This project will test for multiple viruses in one single test, dramatically reducing the time and cost to get plants to market.

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