Maize cobs are weighed at the KALRO research station in Kakamega. Credit: CIMMYT/ Peter Lowe.
Banana breeding programs in East Africa are starting to use genetic analysis to speed up varietal improvement, thanks to open data and access to low-cost services.
In the past, plant breeding has helped avert entire famines by changing a handful of genes in key crop varieties. But today's breeders must meet similar challenges with consistent excellence, making the right decisions each season to refine natural genetic diversity into a multitude of hard-working food crops.
With newly accessible genotyping technologies, African crop breeding programs have partnered with EiB to start using genotyping resources to improve accuracy and efficiency.
As breeders strive for higher-yielding, climate-resilient and nutritious crops, genotyping is intensifying the speed and accuracy of achieving breeding goals. But new technologies have often been out-of-reach for national breeding programs in developing countries.
By adopting best practices and established modern tools, NARS (national agricultural research systems) are making data-driven decisions to boost genetic improvement. And they are measuring this progress through tracking and setting goals around “genetic gain.”