Biotech Updates

Scientists Cite Ways to Eradicate Bacterial Blight in Africa

October 3, 2012

Over the years, rice cultivation and consumption in Africa has greatly increased. Becoming a popular crop, some particular diseases of rice have emerged in the continent including the rice bacterial blight which is caused by the bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae. According to a paper published in the Journal of Biotechnology, the disease further expands to new rice production areas and threatens food security in Africa. Yield losses caused by X. oryzae pv. oryzae range from 20 to 30% and can be as high as 50% in some areas.

To give remedy, scientists have developed biotechnology tools and approaches for the development and release of rice varieties that are resistant to bacterial blight. These include marker-assisted breeding, gene combinations for disease control, and multiplex-PCR for pathogen diagnosis. They also recommend the developers of technologies to work more closely with farmers so that low cost, but successful applications of research biotech products can be created or integrated into African countries' national rice breeding programs.

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