2. »What we do
  3. »Current projects
  4. »Past projects
  5. »Assessment of pearl millet production problems in West Africa and molecular diversity analysis of pearl millet parental lines

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

Sorghum and Millet Innovation Lab

Kansas State University
148 Waters Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506


Assessment of pearl millet production problems in West Africa and molecular diversity analysis of pearl millet parental lines

Lead institution: Kansas State University-Hays Agricultural Research Center
Award amount: $29,904
Focus countries: Senegal, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali

Serba's photo

Principal investigator: Desalegn Serba
U.S. collaborating institution: Kansas State University - Hays Agricultural Research Center
International collaborating institutions: Senegal - Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA) , Niger - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique du Niger (INRAN), Mali- Institut d'Economie Rurale (IER), Burkina Faso - Institut de l'Environnement et des Recherches Agricoles (INERA)

Pearl millet is an important staple food and fodder crop in West Africa especially in Mali, Senegal, Niger, and Burkina Faso. However, the productivity is still low as compared to the genetic potential of the crop. Different biotic and abiotic constraints are expected to contribute to the low productivity. To identify a priority area for future research a professional assessment will be conducted through informal survey and preliminary evaluation nursery of germplasm. A total of 100 entries comprising of inbred lines, experimental hybrids, and open pollinated germplasm were assembled and being evaluated in Niger and Senegal. Informal survey of the production problems will be conducted in all four countries to identify a boarder-cutting production problem that need a collaborative research intervention.

Pearl millet breeding research at the Agricultural Research Center-Hays developed several parental lines in 1980s and 1990s using mainly phenotypic evaluation. The newly initiated breeding program also assembled germplasm from various sources. The level of diversity of these materials has not been documented well. Molecular diversity analysis of these materials will aid to identify novel alleles for different important traits. Therefore, a next-generation sequencing technology called genotyping-by-sequencing will be used to genotype the materials and diversity analysis will be conducted using high throughput SNP markers. The outcome of this diversity analysis will apparently help in founding preliminary heterotic groups and conduct efficient hybrid breeding program.

For more information about this project, contact:


Dr. Desalegn Serba, Millet Breeder
Kansas State University
1232 240th Avenue
Hays, Kansas 67601
785-625-3425 Ext. 212