Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Identify Recent Maize Virus in Kenya

October 10, 2012

Scientists from the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) have finally identified the previously unknown maize virus that ravaged the crop production in the country. Simultaneously, maize seed hybrids that can combat the maize virus were also discovered by KARI researchers.

KARI explained that by using molecular techniques, they found out that the maize virus was caused by a combination of two diseases - the sugarcane mosaic virus and the maize chlorotic virus. According to Kenya's Ministry of Agriculture, among the causes of the disease are farmers' mixing of several types of maize crops on one farm and failure by farmers to practice intercropping or crop rotation.

KARI is now in the process of carrying out germplasm screening in order to search for maize resistant strains. The Ministry of Agriculture, on the other hand, is currently in the process of breeding varieties of seeds that are resistant to maize chlorotic mottle virus and sugar mosaic virus diseases.

For more information, visit http://www.coastweek.com/3535_maizevirus.htm.