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Finding the right tool for the job

The improvement of crop species in Africa mostly relies on phenotypic selection i.e. the gradual improvement of crops through traditional breeding practices based on visual inspection of crosses. This method works – in fact it is the basis for the domestication and adaptation of wild species that led to human civilisation as we know it today. However, it is a slow method and is also resistant to radical change. Given the challenges faced by African agriculture and the ambition explicit in the zero hunger SDG, methods which allow for accelerated and radical changes to food crops are required. These include:

Modern (genome-based) approaches to breeding for crop improvement


Biotechnological (including synthetic biology) approaches for crop improvement


Analytical platforms and bioinformatics to support genomic and biotech approaches


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