Unearthing unique genomic information in Sub-Saharan Africa: the role of CSIR-Crops Research Institute Ghana research efforts

M.D. Quain, R.N.A. Prempeh, D. Appiah-Kubi
The study of genes, and their interaction with the environment play a key role in organism improvement. Advancement in the field of genomics has been rapid in recent years, however, it is obvious that Sub-Saharan Africa is lagging behind, although, their population growth has been estimated to be among the highest worldwide, and in the face of climate change crop production to feed the growing population is challenged. It is therefore important that relevant genes to facilitate increased crop production in breeding programs are unearthed. This paper presents research efforts at the Biotechnology Laboratory of the CSIR-Crops Research Institute in Ghana in attempt to use molecular tools for the study of genes towards improved crop productivity. The molecular biology laboratory of the CSIR-CRI has since 2006 contributed genotypic information on local crop varieties to facilitate breeding programs. Genomic information has enabled the institute to fingerprint locally elite and released crop varieties. Data generated from genotyping local plantain accessions revealed that, most of the phenotypically different accessions are duplicates and hence could be ecotypes. Genotyping released and elite cultivars of Dioscorea rotundata, which is unique to Sub-Saharan Africa, revealed that some of the accessions are duplicated, however, using of a recently developed set of primers, it was revealed that the accessions are different. Xanthosoma esculenta (cocoyam) is very important in the sub-region because its leaves are consumed as vegetables and roots consumed as carbohydrate, however, there is limited genomic information and literature on this orphan crop. We have initiated DArT analysis to unearth its useful genes. Obviously, genomic advancements made have limited information on this important crop, therefore how can the sub-region discover the vital genes within this cropRSQUOs genome with limited resources? Partnering with advanced laboratories has played a key role on advancements made, and hopefully more unique genes will be discovered.
Quain, M.D., Prempeh, R.N.A. and Appiah-Kubi, D. (2018). Unearthing unique genomic information in Sub-Saharan Africa: the role of CSIR-Crops Research Institute Ghana research efforts. Acta Hortic. 1205, 671-680
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1205.83
genotyping, fingerprinting, SSR, yam, cocoyam, plantain and sweetpotato

Acta Horticulturae