NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Scientists have launched a revolutionary service
to speed up breeding for improved crops and livestock in Africa.
The Integrated Genotyping Service and Support (IGSS) that is
based at the Biosciences eastern and central
Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecAILRI) Hub
in Nairobi uses tools that process genetic data quickly, more
accurately and affordably.
"Scientists are now able to shorten cycles of breeding new
improved varieties of crops and livestock in the continent,"
Director of the BecA-ILRI Hub Appolinaire Djikeng said.
Djikeng noted that the new technologies enable scientists to
have information that will support the development of resilient
livestock to withstand the very harsh environments common in the
face of climate change.
He observed that the technologies are meant to create
opportunities for communities to benefit since breeding is an
important business for farmers and livestock keepers.
Djikeng said the technology allows for the selection of
deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a significant molecule which
carries instructions required to reproduce, develop and live.
"It’s upon the regional governments to put money now in
accessing the technology to benefit their farming communities,"
It enables researchers to gain a better understanding of the
genetic basis for resistance to crops such as Maize Lethal
Necrosis (MLN), and could speed up the development of resistant
varieties to this devastating disease of maize.
Andrzej Kilian, the founder and the director of Diversity
Arrays Technology, said that the platform costs 9 million U.S.
dollars to be installed and have personnel trained.
It can be used by any individual, regional research
organization, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), large
companies operating in Africa, or international research center
with particular focus on the African national agricultural
research system breeding programs.
The technology provides genotyping, bioinformatics, genetic
analysis, and breeding decision support services to crop and
livestock improvement programs.
It also offers programs to support capacity building of any
organization in using molecular plant breeding.
The IGSS project is collaboration between the BecA-ILRI Hub
and Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT) from Australia to support
African national crop and livestock breeders to harness the
power of genomic data increase the efficiency of their breeding