African Orphan Crops Consortium Tackles 101 Crop Genomes, Training in Africa

  • 23rd January 2018
  • by secretary
13-17 January 2018. Researchers at BGI and other centers are in the process of sequencing — and resequencing — the genomes of 101 plants for the African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC), an international effort to improve nutrition in Africa through genome-assisted breeding resources and training.

Howard-Yana Shapiro, chief agricultural officer at Mars Incorporated, who is also affiliated with the University of California at Davis, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media lab, outlined the AOCC’s goals during a session on African orphan crops at the Plant and Animal Genome conference.

The AOCC was established in 2013 — spearheaded by investigators at Mars, UC Davis, the World

Bambara groundnut, one of the orphan crops being
profiled as part of the African Orphan Crops Consortium

Wildlife Fund, the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development, and ICRAF.

  • It has since grown to include partner organizations such as BGI, the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Illumina, LGC, South Africa’s ARC, Bioinformatics Institute Ghent’s “From Nucleotides to Networks” (BIG N2N) center, CyVerse, Biosciences Africa, Google. 
  • The AOCC also teams up with other collaborators for specific research efforts,
  • Dow AgroSciences announced that it partnered with UC Davis and the AOCC to sequence 116 lines of Bambara groundnut, drumstick tree, and apple-ring tree.