The promise of cleaner and more abundant hydrocarbon energy through genomic research

OTTAWA, June 4, 2012 /CNW/ - Genome Alberta and the Public Policy Forum have released a joint policy paper titled Enhancing Energy Production and Environmental Outcomes through Genomics: The case for innovation, which outlines how the hydrocarbon energy sector in Canada can improve production and be more environmentally friendly through genomic research.

In February of 2012, Genome Alberta and the Public Policy Forum convened a day-long workshop in Calgary to explore the potential of genomics to mitigate the environmental impact of oil and gas development in areas such as tailings ponds, and the potential to enhance energy production using genomic-based tools. The paper is the summary and recommendations from the workshop which included leaders from research institutions, industry, government and non-profit organizations.

"There is such great potential in this field," noted Dr. David Bailey, President and CEO of Genome Alberta. "Metagenomic research has already begun to make contributions in dealing with key problems such as corrosion of pipelines and tailings ponds emissions. But, we need to seize the opportunity and build on this success."

Genome Alberta is already funding research in the area through its Hydrocarbon Metagenomics Project which is using the science of metagenomics to uncover and analyze the genetic potential of organisms in oil extraction and environmental remediation.

The policy paper suggests that, with appropriate leadership, this field is poised to significantly advance energy innovation and serve as a test model for a new, collaborative approach for innovation in Canada. Genome Alberta and other partners have been identified as key leaders in the drive to enhance policy in this area through partnerships with business and universities.

"It is an exciting development," said Public Policy Forum President and CEO David Mitchell. "The opportunity to make such a strong contribution to achieving Canada's goals in energy, environmental protection, and innovation, does not come along very often."

To download a copy of the report please go to or


About Genome Alberta

Genome Alberta is a publicly funded organization that initiates, funds, and manages genomics research and partnerships. We are based in Calgary but lead projects around Alberta and participate in a variety of projects across the country. Our goal is to create a strong and sustainable Alberta life sciences sector able to compete across the country and around the world. We are one of Canada's six Genome Centres and work closely with these centres to advance the science and application of genomics, metabolomics, and many other related 'omics'.

Visit us on the web at and for the latest in life science news visit our GenOmics News application at


For further information:

Mike Spear
Director of Communications
Genome Alberta
(403) 503-5220 x 22

Ryan Conway
Research Associate
Public Policy Forum
(613) 238 7858 x 232

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