The availability of the genome sequence enables the newly-funded project to study how cassava varieties differ from each other. “The contributions of 454 Life Sciences and DOE JGI in making the cassava genome a reality have opened a new chapter in cassava research worldwide. We’re excited about the opportunity for cassava breeders to access new tools for improving a staple African crop,” said Katherine Kahn, program officer with the Agricultural Development initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.Researchers will use next-generation technologies to sample many varieties of cassava and develop a large database of markers that can be used to identify genes involved in many important traits. The team will collaborate with researchers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in applying these genetic markers toward identifying resistance to Cassava Brown Streak Disease. All of the information and tools the project develops will be freely available worldwide.
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