CALGARY – The first of nine projects approved for funding under Genome Alberta's 'Alberta Livestock Genomics Program' (ALGP) have been announced by Genome Alberta, the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency and the University of Lethbridge.

Genome Alberta, with $4.5 million in funding from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), made a call for proposals in 2010 and has since approved nine research projects to help improve the quality, reputation and health of Alberta livestock.

The first approved project is being led by University of Lethbridge Researcher Dr. Brent Selinger and Dr. Tim McAllister of Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada's Lethbridge Research Centre. Other members of the project team are IdentiGEN Canada Ltd. and University College Cork in Ireland.

The $470,000 in funding and project support from Genome Alberta and ALMA will be used by the project researchers to look atEscherichia coli O157:H7.E. coli O157:H7 is often found in the gut of even healthy cattle, but when it reaches high enough levels for the cattle to become 'super shedders' it can spread and can become a problem for people.

The newly funded project titled "The use of metagenomics to develop mitigation strategies forEscherichia coliO157:H7 colonization in cattle" will use functional genomics to identify and develop new bioactive compounds for controlling the pathogen and to find new strategies to mitigate the shedding of E. coli O157:H7.

"It is very significant to note that the funding for this research is being channelled through Genome Alberta," said Dr. Dennis Fitzpatrick, the Genome Alberta Board chair and professor of biochemistry at the University of Lethbridge. "The industry wants to be competitive on the world stage, and they are to be commended for moving these projects forward through research. When research goals align with research needs, everyone benefits."

Work on the project led by the University of Lethbridge is underway and over the next several weeks funding details for eight more research projects to enhance Alberta's Livestock Sector will be underway as well.

The Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) has invested more than $8.7 million in genomics research over three years.

Genome Alberta is a publicly funded organization that initiates, funds and manages genomics research and partnerships. It is based in Calgary and leads projects around the province and participates in a variety of projects throughout the country. It is one of Canada's six Genome Centers and works closely with these centers to advance the science and application of genomics, metabolomics and more.