Cornell University Takes Lead in $25M Cassava Genome-based Breeding Project

December 5, 2012

Cornell University has been awarded by the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom with US$25.2 million to host a five-year research project to improve the productivity of cassava. Cornell will work with national research institutions in Uganda and Nigeria, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, and the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

Ronnie Coffman, Cornell professor of plant breeding and genetics, director of International Programs and the grant's principal investigator said that "Partners on the Next Generation Cassava Breeding project will use genomic selection, to improve cassava productivity for the 21st century."

The project partners will use the latest genomic information from cassava sequencing to improve productivity and yield, and incorporate cassava germplasm diversity from South America into African breeding programs. They will also train the next generation of cassava plant breeders and improve infrastructure at African institutions.

The partners will share data and information through the website http://www.cassavabase.org/. The news release is available at http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Nov12/Cassava.html.