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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet

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Feed the Future

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Sorghum and Millet Innovation Lab

Kansas State University
148 Waters Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506


Improving sorghum adaptation in West Africa with genomics-enabled breeding

Lead institution: Kansas State University
Award amount: $1,090,093
Focus countries: Niger, Senegal

Highlights of Morris's research

Principal investigator: Geoffrey Morris
U.S. collaborating institutions: Kansas State University
International collaborating institutions:France - Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), Senegal - Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA), Centre d'Etudes Regional pour l'Amelioration de l'Adaptation a la Secheresse (CERAAS), Centre National de Recherche Agronomique (CNRA); Niger - International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique du Niger (INRAN), LSDS (farmer organization), HALAL (farmer organization)

Improving the productivity, resilience and quality of cereal crops is a major leverage point for development in West Africa because of the potential for impacts in regional trade, rural food security, and the health of women and children. As the starting point for a major agriculture value chain, enhanced sorghum varieties with greater yields and improved yield stability can support agricultural and economic development at regional scale.

This project will use new genomic tools to accelerate marker-assisted breeding and expand its impact in West Africa, with six integrated objectives:

  1. Genomic characteristics of Senegalese and Nigerien landraces and breeding lines to connect West African breeding programs to global sorghum breeding efforts.
  2. Development of a simplified genomics toolkit to increase access to marker-assisted breeding tools in West Africa.
  3. Development of multi-parent populations for more efficient trait mapping and breeding which combine traits from locally-preferred varieties and elite global lines.
  4. Improved genetic mapping of stress resistance/tolerance traits to generate more effective trait-associated markers.
  5. Implementation of Marker Assisted Recurrent Selection to develop more resilient locally-preferred varieties.
  6. Long-term and short-term training on genomics-enabled breeding for West African crop scientists.

As sorghum is a major component of the diet of many sub-Saharan Africa's poorest rural people, the acceleration of sorghum breeding will have numerous outcomes that support Feed the Future objectives. In particular, the proposed project will directly address the USAID strategy for climate-smart agriculture in West Africa by accelerating the development of sorghum varieties with increased resilience to abiotic and biotic stressors.

Project details

For more information about the project, contact:

Geoffrey MorrisDr. Geoffrey Morris, Assistant Professor
Kansas State University
2004 Throckmorton Plant Science Center
Manhattan, KS 66506