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GCP research to benefit from completion of draft genome sequence for cassava



A team of researchers have completed a first draft of the cassava (Manihot esculenta) genome sequence – a significant first step which promises to aid the rapid progress of cassava research activities and outcomes, both for GCP and cassava researchers worldwide.


Building on this newly available genome sequence, and in response to the severe limitations faced by cassava farmers in the developing world, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a US$1.3 million grant to University of Arizona researchers who will lead an international consortium to develop a genome variation database that will provide a range of breeding tools to aid farmers in developing cassava, with a special focus on increased resistance to Cassava Brown Streak Disease Virus (CBSD). Next generation sequencing technologies will be used to develop a large database of markers, and all information and tools generated by the project will be freely available worldwide.

Team members of the project hail from the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI), 454 Life Sciences, a Roche Company, USA and the Institute for Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland, USA, the latter of which sees GCP scientist Pablo Rabinowicz building on his research carried out under Subprogramme 2 Competitive project G3007.03 Development of genomics resources for molecular breeding of drought tolerance in cassava. Results from this new collaboration of partners under the Gates-funded project will contribute directly to GCP’s cassava Challenge Initiative.

For more information, see press release