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2 grants to UC Riverside boost scientists' efforts in developing improved cowpea varieties
Date:10/30/2013

o it, it can deliver a cowpea variety that is close to the ideotype in as little as four to five years."

UCR has already had much success in releasing new cowpea varieties in California and West Africa, and has a longterm blackeye breeding program funded by the California Dry Bean Advisory Board.

"The UCR Coachella Valley Agricultural Research Station closely resembles environmental conditions in West Africa," Roberts said. "The lessons learned here in breeding this legacy crop plant have already helped boost yield and consumer adoption in Africa."

UCR is host to a collection of more than 5,000 cowpea accessions from around the world. Researchers at the university, like, most recently, Close and Roberts, have been providing assistance to African scientists for several decades. In the late 1970s, Anthony Hall, a professor emeritus of crop physiology in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, pioneered research on cowpea at UCR. His research on cowpea physiology contributed to a deeper understanding of the legume's adaptation to drought, heat and poor soils; his efforts with several African breeders helped develop highly successful varieties in Senegal, Sudan and Ghana. He also led the effort to establish a genetic map for cowpea, published in 1997.

"The UCR cowpea team has trained many graduate students from Africa at UCR over the years," Close said. "Several of these young and bright scientists have returned to their countries of origin and applied in farms there the knowledge in cowpea genetic research they gained at UCR. As before, in both the Feed the Future projects we will emphasize direct training of African breeders to ensure effective adoption of best practices related to the use of genetic markers."

The research projects will support a number of
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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