Biotech Updates

Danforth Center Receives USD 2.5 Million to Develop Disease-Resistant Cassava Plants

November 20, 2009

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center with a five year USD 2.5 million grant to develop disease-resistant cassava plants. Danforth researchers are working to develop crop varieties resistant to the cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and the cassava brown streak disease (CBSD), diseases that seriously threaten the food security in unstable regions of the Africa, such as Rwanda and Tanzania. They are working with colleagues in Kenya and Uganda under the umbrella of VIRCA, which stands for "Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa". All technologies developed by VIRCA and used to produce these plants will be freely transferred to African partners, so that they will be in a position to repeat the work if they wish to do so.

"We are very grateful for this support from U.S.A.I.D. as the project moves from the laboratory and greenhouse stages to field trial evaluations in Africa," said Paul Anderson, executive director, Office of International Programs, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

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