Two Of The Top Five Ontario Life Ontario-Life Changing Innovations Discovered By University Of Guelph: DNA Barcoding And Yukon Gold Potatoes

on February 7 | in Ag News | by | with No Comments

From OMAFRA Research and Innovation News

On April 1, the Research Matters team launched a fun online campaign to highlight the 50 game-changing discoveries made in this province’s universities over the last 100 years. The list included well-known ones, as well as those with less profile, but just as much impact.

They asked you to vote for your favourite, both online and in person with the Curiosity Cruiser staff who travelled the province this summer. They promised that come the fall, they would share with you your top five picks.

Reinventing the Potato

Yukon Gold is a variety of potato with smooth skin, pink eyes and deep yellow flesh. Potato breeder Gary Johnston developed the variety in the 1960s and it was released in 1981. With its rich flavour and bright yellow colour, the Yukon Gold saw a steady increase in popularity in Canada and abroad. Potato breeders continue to use the Yukon Gold as a standard for developing improved yellow-fleshed varieties.

Its commercial success and longevity make it the most recognized plant variety developed through the University of Guelph’s breeding programs.

Yukon Gold

Gary Johnston


Digitizing DNA

DNA barcoding is a system of species identification that uses a short section of DNA from a standardized region of the genome. It works much like a grocery store scanner that identifies your purchases using a product’s black-striped bar codes. Paul Hebert, Director of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph, proposed the system in 2003, giving researchers a highly effective way to identify animals, plants, fungi and even protists.

The approach has wide applications for biosecurity, invasive species, health, the economy, climate change and the environment. DNA barcoding has, for example, helped to protect consumers by identifying mislabeled food and health products.

Paul Hebert Laboratory »

What is DNA barcoding? »

To read about more game-changing discoveries, click here.

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