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Cassava for the next generation

The use of genomic selection is expected to shorten breeding cycles (© IITA)
The use of genomic selection is expected to shorten breeding cycles
© IITA

A five year project, hosted by Cornell University in partnership with five African and American research institutes, will promote state-of-the-art genomic selection techniques for improved cassava breeding. Next Generation Cassava, which has received over US$25 million in funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), will give cassava breeders access to the latest genomic information from cassava sequencing, enabling them to rapidly develop and multiply new, more productive varieties of the root crop, which is currently a staple food for over 500 million Africans.

The use of genomic selection is expected to shorten breeding cycles, provide more accurate evaluation of seedlings and allow breeders to evaluate many more plants. Project activities will also include the incorporation of cassava germplasm from South America into African breeding programmes, training of the next generation of cassava breeders, and improving infrastructure at African institutions. "This project will ensure that cassava genetic research is on a par with other top food crops, such as wheat, rice, maize and potato," says Peter Kulakow, cassava breeder at IITA, one of the three Africa-based partners.

Date published: December 2012

 

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