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Scientists use DNA info to unravel origins of cassava

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The DNA sequence information will support efforts to provide farmers with high yielding varieties with resistance to diseases such as the deadly cassava brown streak disease (CBSD), which gives the roots a dry hard rot. The DNA sequence information according to a report obtained by New Telegraph, will support efforts to provide farmers with high yielding varieties with resistance to diseases such as the deadly cassava brown streak disease (CBSD), which gives the roots a dry hard rot. A team of international scientists that has been studying DNA sequence information from cassava varieties grown all over the world has provided clear evidence on the ancestry of cassava. They have also published a high-quality genome assembly of the hardy crop, which will be very useful in efforts to improve cassava.

Cassava is a very important food staple in sub-Saharan Africa, yet its yield and quality are compromised by two damaging virus diseases: cassava mosaic disease (CMD), causing disfiguration, curling, and yellowing of leaves, and cassava brown streak disease (CBSD), causing severe browning in the storage roots. The new DNA sequence resources according to the study, will help scientists develop varieties that are resistant to these virus diseases. The team comprised scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the University of California, the United States Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI), and from National Agricultural Research Organisations of Tanzania, Nigeria, Fiji, and Micronesia, among others. The team sequenced 58 wild and cultivated cassava varieties including related species such as Caera or Indian rubber (Manihot glaziovii), and genotyped 268 African cassava varieties. T he team has published the results in the April issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Source: newtelegraphonline.com

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