Esfeld, Korinna; Plaza, Sonia; Tadele, Zerihun
July 2009
Gene Conserve;Jul-Sep2009, Vol. 8 Issue 33, p1
Academic Journal
Orphan- or understudied-crops are mostly staple food crops in developing world. They are broadly classified under cereals, legumes, root crops, fruits and vegetables. These under-researched crops contribute to the diet of a large portion of resource-poor consumers and at the same time generate income for small-holder farmers in developing countries, particularly in Africa. In addition, they perform better than major crops of the world under extreme soil and climatic conditions. However, orphan crops are not without problems. Due to lack of scientific investigation, most of them produce low yields while others have a variety of toxins that affect the health of consumers. Here, we present some highlights on the status and future perspectives of the Tef Biotechnology Project that employs modern improvement technique in order to genetically improve tef (Eragrostis tef), one of the most important orphan crop in Africa. A reverse genetics approach known as TILLING (Targeting Induced Local Lesions IN Genome) is implemented in order to tackle lodging, the major yield limiting factor in tef.


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