Developing new crops through genomics and breeding – an example from a drought tolerant African legume, bambara groundnut

26 - 27 MARCH 2018

World agriculture faces significant challenges if it is to produce sufficient nutritious and safe food for the coming century. An increasing and increasingly affluent world population will put major demands on food supplies, without access to additional land or water, while climate change threatens to undermine efforts to achieve food and nutritional security.
One important route to improving the resilience of agriculture is to diversify the number of crops currently grown, with rice, wheat and maize currently accounting for 60% of all calories consumed.
Identifying crops which are still grown (often at low levels) and which have specific trait values beyond those of the major crops (e.g. drought tolerance) could be one approach. However, many such ‘underutilised’ crops also have problems across the supply chain, if it even exists. These problems can range from lack of breeding, to lack of acceptable products and markets.
The revolution in genomics and genetics based particularly on Next Generation Sequencing technologies is poised to remove some of these constraints.
We present recent progress in the genomics and genetics of bambara groundnut, a drought tolerant African legume with real potential to contribute to food and nutritional security in some of the most vulnerable regions of the world, as part of a more resilient, complex, agriculture. 
Click here to download the slideshow.
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