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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Crop improvement centre seeks AATF partnership on gene editing

The West African Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) has invited the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) to jointly set up a gene editing platform to fast-track crop improvements using modern technologies.

Gene editing
Gene editing technology. Photo credit: Pennmedicine.org

This was disclosed by WACCI Associate Director, Prof Kwadwo Ofori, when he received the AATF pod borer research team led by the project manager, Dr. Jean Baptiste, in Accra, Ghana.

WACCI is a leading centre for training plant breeders in Africa and its scientists have produced more than 60 improved seed varieties in the last decade. Prof Ofori said establishing a gene editing platform would expedite research and help countries to address crop improvement challenges, especially those beyond conventional breeding methods

Welcoming the idea, Dr Baptiste said AATF would be happy to work with the Centre to train more experts to seek innovative solutions to food and nutritional security in Africa.

He said AATF was already working with leading research organisations in African and adding WACCI to the group would advance its mandate of promoting prosperity through technology.

WACCI was founded by Prof. Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, winner of the 2022 African Food Prize for training African agricultural scientists in Africa and for Africa.

Prof Danquah established WACCI in 2007 at the University of Ghana, with the “aim of training a new generation of plant breeders to develop improved varieties of staple crops in West and Central Africa”.

Through his leadership, WACCI has grown into a world class centre for training plant breeders in Africa and attracted more than $30 million of research and development funding and trained more than 120 PhD and 49 MPhil students in seed science and technology from 19 African countries.

The institution boasts of a new molecular biology/tissue culture laboratory, a bioinformatics platform, and cutting-edge university farms, including a $300,000 ultra-modern screen house for controlled experiments.

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