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Danforth Center Collaborative Research Program receives funding to improve crop yield in Africa
Date:9/6/2011

e silencing demonstrated success in controlling both diseases in transgenic cassava plants. Control of CMD associated with several-fold improvement in storage root yields was recently demonstrated in early field trials in Uganda.

"We are grateful for the support of our many partners for this important project. I have witnessed the devastation caused by CMD and CBSD, wiping out entire harvests, leaving many people on the verge of starvation. Our team is confident that the cassava we develop will improve the lives of millions of people allowing them to not only grow adequate food, but also to increase productivity so they might have enough money left over to educate their children and afford good medical care for malaria and other diseases they face," said Dr. Claude Fauquet, principal investigator and director of ILTAB at The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, who serves as the lead investigator.

Cassava is one of the most important staple food crops for more than 200 million sub-Saharan Africans who derive 25 percent of their daily calorie intake from the starchy tuberous roots. In the East African countries of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Rwanda, Burundi and Malawi, approximately 130 million people depend on the crop and produce nearly 30 metric tons of cassava annually. Cassava also contributes more than any other single crop to household income, with 63 percent of households selling cassava products.

Despite its natural drought tolerance and ability to grow well on marginal lands, cassava is susceptible to various pathogens. At least one third of the continental harvest is lost each year to Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) alone. Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD), another viral cassava disease, is considered to be among the most dangerous plant diseases in the world for the threat it poses to food and economic security throughout Africa. In the Lake Victoria area in East Africa, more than seven million people are
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Contact: Melanie Bernds
mbernds@danforthcenter.org
314-587-1647
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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Danforth Center Collaborative Research Program receives funding to improve crop yield in Africa
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