Biotech Updates

First Marker-Assisted Bred Sorghum Varieties Released to Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa

July 6, 2012

Sudan's National Crop Variety Release Committee has approved the release of four experimental Striga-resistant sorghum varieties, namely: ASARECA.T1" (T1BC3S4), "ASARECA.W2 Striga" W2BC3S4, "ASARECA.AG3" AG2BC3S4; and "ASARECA.AG4" (AG6BC3S4). These are from Striga-susceptible improved sorghum varieties "Tabat", "Wad Ahmed", and "AG8".

This is the first time an African national program adopted and implemented marker-assisted backcrossing, through multi-institutional collaboration to generate improved cultivars against Striga, a serious problem of cereal farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. The program to develop these four varieties was initiated in 2004, under a BMZ-supported project involving the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the University of Hohenheim, and national program partners in Eritrea, Kenya, Mali, and Sudan. 

More details about this event are available at