Feed aggregator

Assessment of the virulence spectrum and its association with genetic diversity in Magnaporthe oryzae populations from sub-Saharan Africa

Our latest outputs -

Assessment of the virulence spectrum and its association with genetic diversity in Magnaporthe oryzae populations from sub-Saharan Africa Mutiga, Samuel; Rotich, F.; Ganeshan, V.D.; Mwongera, D.T.; Mgonja, E.M.; Were, V.M.; Harvey, J.W.; Zhou, B.; Wasilwa, L.; Feng, C.; Ouédraogo, I.; Wang, G.-L.; Mitchell, T.K.; Talbot, N.J.; Correll, J.C. A collection of 122 isolates of Magnaporthe oryzae, from nine sub-Saharan African countries, was assessed for virulence diversity and genetic relatedness. The virulence spectrum was assessed by pathotype analysis with a panel of 43 rice genotypes consisting of differential lines carrying 24 blast resistance genes (R-genes), contemporary African rice cultivars, and susceptible checks. The virulence spectrum among isolates ranged from 5 to 80%. Five isolates were avirulent to the entire rice panel, while two isolates were virulent to ∼75% of the panel. Overall, cultivar 75-1-127, the Pi9 R-gene donor, was resistant to all isolates (100%), followed by four African rice cultivars (AR105, NERICA 15, 96%; NERICA 4, 91%; and F6-36, 90%). Genetic relatedness of isolates was assessed by single nucleotide polymorphisms derived from genotyping-by-sequencing and by vegetative compatibility tests. Phylogenetic analysis of SNPs of a subset of isolates (n = 78) revealed seven distinct clades that differed in virulence. Principal component analysis showed isolates from East Africa were genetically distinct from those from West Africa. Vegetative compatibility tests of a subset of isolates (n = 65) showed no common groups among countries. This study shows that blast disease could be controlled by pyramiding of Pi9 together with other promising R-genes into rice cultivars that are adapted to East and West African regions.

Assessment of the virulence spectrum and its association with genetic diversity in Magnaporthe oryzae populations from sub-Saharan Africa

BecA outputs -

Assessment of the virulence spectrum and its association with genetic diversity in Magnaporthe oryzae populations from sub-Saharan Africa Mutiga, Samuel; Rotich, F.; Ganeshan, V.D.; Mwongera, D.T.; Mgonja, E.M.; Were, V.M.; Harvey, J.W.; Zhou, B.; Wasilwa, L.; Feng, C.; Ouédraogo, I.; Wang, G.-L.; Mitchell, T.K.; Talbot, N.J.; Correll, J.C. A collection of 122 isolates of Magnaporthe oryzae, from nine sub-Saharan African countries, was assessed for virulence diversity and genetic relatedness. The virulence spectrum was assessed by pathotype analysis with a panel of 43 rice genotypes consisting of differential lines carrying 24 blast resistance genes (R-genes), contemporary African rice cultivars, and susceptible checks. The virulence spectrum among isolates ranged from 5 to 80%. Five isolates were avirulent to the entire rice panel, while two isolates were virulent to ∼75% of the panel. Overall, cultivar 75-1-127, the Pi9 R-gene donor, was resistant to all isolates (100%), followed by four African rice cultivars (AR105, NERICA 15, 96%; NERICA 4, 91%; and F6-36, 90%). Genetic relatedness of isolates was assessed by single nucleotide polymorphisms derived from genotyping-by-sequencing and by vegetative compatibility tests. Phylogenetic analysis of SNPs of a subset of isolates (n = 78) revealed seven distinct clades that differed in virulence. Principal component analysis showed isolates from East Africa were genetically distinct from those from West Africa. Vegetative compatibility tests of a subset of isolates (n = 65) showed no common groups among countries. This study shows that blast disease could be controlled by pyramiding of Pi9 together with other promising R-genes into rice cultivars that are adapted to East and West African regions.

When less is more: Innovations for tracking progress toward global targets

Our latest outputs -

When less is more: Innovations for tracking progress toward global targets Rosenstock, Todd S; Lamanna, Christine; Chesterman, Sabrina; Hammond, J.; Kadiyala, Suneetha; Luedeling, Eike; Shepherd, K.; DeRenzi, Brian; Wijk, M.T. van Accountability and adaptive management of recent global agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement, will in part rely on the ability to track progress toward the social and environmental targets they set. Current metrics and monitoring systems, however, are not yet up to the task. We argue that there is an imperative to consider principles of coherence (what to measure), standardization (how to measure) and decision-relevance (why to measure) when designing monitoring schemes if they are to be practical and useful. New approaches that have the potential to match the necessary scale of monitoring, with sufficient accuracy and at reasonable cost, are emerging; although, they represent a significant departure from the historical norm in some cases. Iterative review and adaptation of analytical approaches and available technology will certainly be needed to continuously design ways to best track our progress.

Farm types and farmer motivations to adapt: Implications for design of sustainable agricultural interventions in the rubber plantations of South West China

Our latest outputs -

Farm types and farmer motivations to adapt: Implications for design of sustainable agricultural interventions in the rubber plantations of South West China Hammond, J.; Wijk, Mark T. van; Smajgl, A.; Ward, J.; Pagella, T.; Jianchu Xu; Yufang Su; Zhuangfang Yi; Harrison, R.D. Tropical land use is one of the leading causes of global environmental change. Sustainable agricultural development aims to reduce the negative environmental impacts of tropical land use whilst enhancing the well-being of the smallholder farmers residing in those areas. Interventions with this goal are typically designed by scientists educated in the Western tradition, and often achieve lower than desired uptake by smallholder farmers. We build on work done in farm type classification and studies of factors that influence adaptation, trialling a suite of household survey questions to elucidate the motivational factors that influence a farmer's willingness to adapt to external change. Based on a sample of 1015 households in the rubber growing region of Xishuangbanna, South-west China, we found that farm types based on structural characteristics (e.g. crops, livelihoods) could not be used to accurately predict farmers' motivations to adapt. Amongst all six farm types identified, the full range of motivational typologies was found. We found six motivational types, from most to least likely to adapt, named: Aspirational Innovators, Conscientious, Copy Cats, Incentive-centric, Well Settled, and Change Resistant. These groups roughly corresponded with those identified in literature regarding diffusion of innovations, but such classifications are rarely used in development literature. We predict that only one third of the population would be potentially willing to trial a new intervention, and recommend that those sectors of the population should be identified and preferentially targeted by development programs. Such an approach requires validation that these motivational typologies accurately predict real behaviour – perhaps through a panel survey approach. Dedicated data gathering is required, beyond what is usually carried out for ex-ante farm typologies, but with some refinements of the methodology presented here the process need not be onerous. An improved suite of questions to appraise farmers' motivations might include value orientations, life satisfaction, and responses to various scenarios, all phrased to be locally appropriate, with a scoring system that uses the full range of potential scores and a minimum of follow up and peripheral questions.

Book and videos explain how to measure soil carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, and analyze mitigation options in smallholder farming

CRP 7 News -

Data on greenhouse gas emissions from smallholder farming are scant and often not comparable across systems, countries, or regions. Without reliable and accurate smallholder farming data, it will be very difficult for countries to contribute to the Paris Agreement or other climate change mitigation actions. 

To rapidly expand the amount of reliable data from smallholder farms in developing countries, scientists founded SAMPLES, a global research program that supports tropical countries to measure greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and identify mitigation options compatible with food security. Under the auspices of SAMPLES, CGIAR scientists, partners at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) and dozens of other research scientists published the open-access book titled Methods for Measuring Greenhouse Gas Balances and Evaluating Mitigation Options in Smallholder Agriculture in 2016.

Intended to make rigorous measurement of agricultural emissions and climate change mitigation accessible, and feasible to conduct in in tropical, developing countries, the book explains how to design a measurement program; acquire data in the areas of land use and land cover change; soil emissions, enteric methane emissions from livestock, soil emission, tree biomass carbon, soil organic carbon, and yield estimation; and identify mitigation options through explaining how to scale point measurements to farms and landscapes, and conduct a trade-off analysis. Two chapters are now accompanied by videos developed by or in collaboration with authors.

Measuring soil carbon in Ghana

As research and expectations mount around the potential impact of sequestering soil carbon on climate change, the need for robust, reliable data on soil carbon stocks and stock changes on farms in differing landscapes is critical. Gustavo Saiz, of Imperial College London and lead author of the chapter “Methods for smallholder quantification of soil carbon stocks and stock changes,” worked with colleagues at CCAFS, Alain Albrecht of the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), and Ghana’s Kwame Nkumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), to show how scientists measure soil organic carbon stocks on smallholder farms in Ghana. The video embedded below is in English. Click here to see the French.

Video: Measuring soil organic carbon on smallholder farms

Read more about the potential of soil carbon at the 4per1000 Initiative, Soils for Food Security and Climate.

Methodology for quantifying soil greenhouse gas emissions, fluxes

Chapter co-authors focus on the chamber methodology for measuring emissions from soils because it is best adapted to tropical, developing countries. In the video, they discuss chamber placement considerations, gas sampling method, and how to conduct analyses and process data. They also make recommendations based on recent scientific findings, including how to address spatial and temporal variability and use the gas pooling technique.

Video: Quantifying greenhouse gas emissions from managed and natural soils

How to use this information

As countries move toward implementation of the Paris Agreement, the book is designed to provide needed guidance on measurement methods to:

  • National agricultural research centers (NARS)
  • Compilers of national GHG inventories
  • Developers of national and subnational mitigation plans that include agriculture

And as the private sector and development organizations also innovate to decrease net emissions, and contribute to or benefit from climate finance, agricultural commodity companies and agricultural development projects will also find these methods accessible and feasible. 

Finally, the book and accompanying videos are appropriate texts for university and graduate instructors and students in agriculture and climate change.

“This book – and the accompanying videos – could be helpful for a potentially very large number of people. This is science with a purpose.” Gustavo Saiz

Further reading and viewing

ILRI Vacacny – Program Accountant – Internal (Closing date – 6 June 2017)

Jobs -

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT – INTERNAL

Program Accountant

REF: PA/19/2017

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The Position: The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a Program Accountant who will be working with three programs – Impact at Scale (IAS), Feed & Forage Development (FFD) & Animal & Human Health (AHH) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

General: The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) works to improve food and nutritional security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock. It is the only one of 15 CGIAR research centres dedicated entirely to animal agriculture research for the developing world. Co-hosted by Kenya and Ethiopia, it has regional or country offices and projects in East, South and Southeast Asia as well as Central, East, Southern and West Africa. http://www.ilri.org.

Main duties and responsibilities:

Proposal development – Budget development:

Provides advice on project costing’s to staff toward development of proposal budgets;
Prepares proposal budgets for review by Project Manager and Project Leaders or budget holders;
Support annual budget preparation by working with the Project Manager & Program Manager;
Uploads project budget to the Sun System or other system used by ILRI.
Financial Accounting, Project Management and Donor reporting:

Prepares all projects’ payment requests for sub-grantees in collaboration with Project Manager and Project Leaders;
Follows up with finance to ensure timely payments to sub-grantees and ensures transfer advices are shared with partners in a timely manner;
Ensures project partners’ financial returns are submitted within set timelines. Reviews advance requests and financial returns by partners with reference to contractual obligations and partner financial obligations with liquidation effected in SUN;
Develops and maintains appropriate databases to ensure project financial management is done to meet various program financial demands;
Prepares detailed monthly, quarterly and annual internal financial reports as requested by Project Manager highlighting issues on over/under expenditure and adjustment of wrong postings in the system and also to facilitate monitoring and tracking of project finances, and decision making by Project leaders;
Maintains proper financial and non-financial project records of projects both in electronic (soft) and hard copies;
Prepares donor financial reports/statements in collaboration with Project Manager, Project Leaders and Finance department and maintains appropriate compliance donor reporting databases;
Computes project accruals annually and during project close outs and ensures they are captured in the system;
Ensures that all full costing recovery items are captured in the appropriate project;
Raises invoices and follows up reimbursements and transfer advices from partners/donors;
Leads project specific audit and supports external/internal audit as may be found necessary.
Project Settlements Reports, Travel Expense Reports, Travel Authorizations, Requisitions, and Petty-Cash Replenish:

Reviews Project Settlement Reports, Petty Cash Replenishments, Travel Expense Reports, Travel Authorizations (TAs) and Payment Requests;
Follows up on project and travel advance settlements with staff and consultants to close outstanding accounts quickly
Consultancy Management support:

Provides assistance in the financial aspects of management of consultancies.
Academic and professional qualifications:

Education:

BA degree in Accounting or related fields.
Experience:

At least 5 years’ experience in budget and project financial report preparations
Training:

Professional training in Grants Management and Project Management are advantageous.
Intermediate to advanced computer literacy, including spreadsheets and accounting software
Skills:

Must be able to work independently with minimal supervision, but also participates as a team member in accomplishment of duties.
Possesses excellent interpersonal and communication skills, good judgment and a high level of respect for confidentiality.
Strong ability to co-ordinate, prioritize and organize workload; takes initiative and can work under pressure.
Highly effective planning, organizational and multi-tasking skills with a positive attitude and strong accounting service orientation.
Ability to work in a multi-cultural environment.
Excellent spoken and written English.
Commitment to ILRI’s mission and core values
Duty Station: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Grade: 2C

Minimum Base Salary: Birr 16,619 (Negotiable depending on experience, skill and salary history of

the candidate)

Terms of appointment: This is a Nationally Recruited Staff (NRS) position, initial appointment is for three years with the possibility of renewal, contingent upon individual performance and the availability of funding. The ILRI remuneration package for nationally recruited staff in Ethiopia includes very competitive salary and benefits such as life and medical insurance, offshore pension plan, etc.

Applications: Applicants should provide a cover letter and curriculum vitae; names and addresses (including telephone and email) of three referees who are knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience to be included in the curriculum vitae. The position and reference number: REF: PA/19/2017 should be clearly indicated in the subject line of the cover letter. All applications to be submitted online on our recruitment portal: http://ilri.simplicant.com/ on or before 6 June 2017.

To find out more about ILRI visit our website at http://www.ilri.org

To find out more about working at ILRI visit our website at http://www.ilri.org/ilricrowd/

Suitably qualified women are particularly encouraged to apply.

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ILRI vacancy: Scientist – Greenhouse Gases Emissions (closing date: 30 June 2017)

Jobs -

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a Scientist – Greenhouse Gases Emissions to join the environmental research team in the Sustainable Livestock Program.  This is in light of increasing demands from the Livestock CRP and CCAFS to measure greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, predominantly but not exclusively smallholder livestock systems.  The scientist will work at the “Mazingira” Centre, ILRI’s state-of-the-art environmental research laboratory, unique in Africa (https://mazingira.ilri.org).

ILRI works to improve food and nutritional security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock. It is the only one of 15 CGIAR research centres dedicated entirely to animal agriculture research for the developing world. Co-hosted by Kenya and Ethiopia, it has regional or country offices and projects in East, South and Southeast Asia as well as Central, East, Southern and West Africa. www.ilri.org

Responsibilities

  • Conduct agronomic, livestock productivity and greenhouse gas (GHG) measurements for different land use systems in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to allow the quantification of system specific GHG fluxes and subsequently to develop reliable mitigation options;
  • Manage and maintain laboratory and field facilities, specifically automatic soil GHG chambers, laser absorption spectrometers included in various setups (i.e. animal respiration chambers, eddy covariance etc.) to quantify GHG emissions from ruminants, soil, vegetation, manure and whole ecosystems;
  • Training and supervision of staff;
  • Quality control and quality assurance of the collected data;
  • Conduct laboratory scale, mesocosm parameterisation experiments to allow direct comparison of GHG emission potentials from manures and soils for different environmental conditions;
  • Write scientific papers and prepare conference/workshop presentations describing results and their implications for productivity, GHG and nutrient management; and contribute to other communication products (research briefs, policy briefs, stakeholder meetings etc.);
  • Develop innovative concepts and ideas for further research (including proposal writing) to address environmental aspects of agricultural productions systems that do not compromise food security.

Requirements

  • PhD in nutrient cycling in agroecosystems, agronomy, geo-ecology, environmental sciences or related fields
  • Considerable practical knowledge of techniques and experience with equipment used in the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions from terrestrial ecosystems, experience with the eddy covariance technique is beneficial
  • knowledge of chemical analysis of environmental samples (soil and plant analysis) is an asset
  • Ability to effectively manage, visualize and analyse (statistics) large datasets using standard programming languages (i.e. R, python etc.)

Post location: The position is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Position level: The position level is 4C.

Duration: 3 years with the possibility of renewal, contingent upon individual performance and continued funding.

Benefits: ILRI offers a competitive salary and benefits package which includes 15% Pension, Medical insurance, Life insurance and allowances for: Education, Housing, Relocation, Home leave, Annual holiday entitlement of 30 days + public holidays.

How to apply: Applicants should send a cover letter and CV expressing their interest in the position, what they can bring to the job and the names and addresses (including telephone and email) of three referees who are knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience to the Director, People and Organizational Development through our recruitment portal http://ilri.simplicant.com/ on or before 30 June 2017. The position title and reference number SLS/05/2017 should be clearly marked on the subject line of the cover letter.

We thank all applicants for their interest in working for ILRI. Due to the volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

ILRI does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing or training). ILRI also does not concern itself with information on applicants’ bank accounts.

To find out more about ILRI visit our websites at http://www.ilri.org

To find out more about working at ILRI visit our website at http://www.ilri.org/ilricrowd/

ILRI is an equal opportunity employer.

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Premiere African biosciences center for excellence gets a new director

Beca news -

Dr Jacob Mignouna has been appointed director of the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub. Mignouna assumes the helm from Dr Appolinaire Djikeng who has held the post since December 2012.  

A plant molecular breeder and geneticist by training, Mignouna brings to the BecA-ILRI Hub a wealth of experience in leading research and managing donors’ investments in agricultural research for development spanning Africa, Europe and USA. 

He has previously served as the director for technical operations at the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, and most recently as a senior program officer and senior regional advisor for West Africa at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, USA. 

In welcoming the new director, ILRI director general Dr Jimmy Smith said: 

'We are very pleased that Jacob has agreed to take up this challenging but exciting position as director of the BecA-ILRI Hub. He is eminently well qualified and offers great insights as to what the future of the Hub could look like, bringing high-end biotechnology to bear on Africa’s agricultural opportunities and challenges. I look forward working with him as a member of my leadership team here at ILRI.'

The chair of the BecA-ILRI Hub advisory panel Dr Eugene Terry said:

'On behalf of my colleagues who serve as members of the BecA-ILRI Hub advisory panel, and on my behalf, I warmly welcome the appointment of Jacob to this position. I look forward to working closely with him and the rest of the members of the BecA-ILRI Hub team in fulfilling the mission of enabling African science leaders to address key agricultural challenges through the applications of modern biotechnology.'  

The outgoing BecA-ILRI Hub director Appolinaire Djikeng welcomed Mignouna’s appointment saying: 

'I am delighted to pass the baton to a remarkable champion who has tirelessly contributed in very many ways to agricultural transformation and capacity building in Africa. In the recent past, I have had the opportunity to interact with Jacob and I am confident that under his leadership, the BecA-ILRI Hub will continue to deliver on its commitments–to grow and strengthen its position as a leading institution and important contributor of science for development.'

About his appointment, Jacob Mingouna said: 

'I am very excited about the opportunity to lead this premier African bioscience center. I look forward to building on the legacy of my predecessors and taking the BecA-ILRI Hub to a new horizon. I envision the BecA-ILRI Hub as the lead bioscience center addressing the food security challenges in Africa.'

____________________________________________________________________________

About the BecA-ILRI Hub

The Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub is a shared agricultural research and biosciences facility located at and managed by ILRI in Nairobi, Kenya. It provides support to African and international scientists conducting research on African agricultural challenges and acts as a focal point for learning, interaction and strategic research — enabling collaborations in the scientific community to benefit African farmers and markets within the region. The Hub was established as part of an African Union/New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) African Biosciences Initiative, which employs modern biotechnology to improve agriculture, livelihoods and food security in eastern and central Africa. ILRI is a member of the CGIAR Consortium. CGIAR is a global agriculture research partnership for a food-secure future. Its science is carried out by the 15 research centres that are members of the CGIAR Consortium in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations.

http://hub.africabiosciences.org/ 

www.ilri.org

 

 

Delivering smart climate change adaptation and mitigation options for East African agriculture

Clippings -

Cover of a new booklet published by CCAFS and launched at a CCAFS-ILRI science seminar yesterday (30 May 2017).

How can science help deliver smart climate change adaptation and mitigation options for East African agriculture? On 30 May 2017, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) held a science seminar at ILRI’s campus in Nairobi on delivering climate change options for the region. Participants shared knowledge and discussed best practices—and persistent gaps—in climate change adaptation and mitigation options for East Africa’s millions of small-scale food producers. Scientists described CCAFS policy and engagement work, ILRI’s practical work in livestock insurance, gender issues and greenhouse gas emissions to help the region’s livestock sector both mitigate and adapt to climate change, and CCAFS strategies for conducting science and building partnerships for greater development impacts. Click on the link below to view tweeted highlights of the discussions.

⚡️ “Towards resilient, profitable, climate-smart East African agriculture”https://t.co/zyZxS7mqy6

— Susan MacMillan (@SusanMacMillan) May 31, 2017

Go here to view CCAFS’ webpage for this event, which includes details of the program:
Science to deliver adaptation and mitigation in East African agriculture


Filed under: CCAFS, CGIAR, Climate Change, East Africa, Event report, ILRI, Insurance, Kenya, Mazingira, Pastoralism, Policy, SLS, Women Tagged: IBLI

Polymorphism analysis of kisspeptin (KISS1) gene and its association with litter size in Ethiopian indigenous goat populations

BecA outputs -

Polymorphism analysis of kisspeptin (KISS1) gene and its association with litter size in Ethiopian indigenous goat populations Mekuriaw, G.; Mwacharo, J.M.; Dessie, Tadelle; Okeyo Mwai, Ally; Djikeng, Appolinaire; Osama, S.; Gebreyesus, G.; Kidane, A.; Abegaz, S.; Tesfaye, K. Polymorphism analysis of the Kisspeptin (KISS1) gene and its association with litter size were conducted in two (Gondar and Woyto Guji) Ethiopian indigenous goat populations. Three new pairs of primers were designed for touchdown PCR condition. A total of 173 and 242 Sanger sequences were employed for further analysis of exon1 (1210 bp) and exon2 (325 bp) regions of the KISS1 gene, respectively. In addition, the identified polymorphic sites were associated with litter size of the animals included in the study. General linear model was carried out for the association analysis. The study revealed that five complete substitutions and 15 polymorphic sites were detected in both exon regions with 2:1 transition and transversion ratio. Most of the polymorphic sites were observed in more than 1% of the sequences qualifying the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) definition. The overall average codon bias index was 0.301 with 64.09 and 62.47% GC contents in exon1 and exon2, respectively. The overall average HE was 0.18863±0.21 for exon1 and 0.03155±0.01. Only four loci, which constitute 10 genotypes, from the polymorphic sites showed significant contribution of litter size of the goat populations studied. Heterozygous genotypes (TC and GC at g.950T>C and g.3416G>C, respectively) had performed highest estimates of litter size in three of the loci which contributed for litter size. However, the homozygous genotype observed at locus g.3811C>T showed highest contribution for fecundity trait. 18 to 31% performance differences of litter size were observed due to the influence of the genotypes. In conclusion, the SNP detected in those target regions of the gene confirm the contribution of the KISS1 gene for fecundity trait suggesting importance of the gene for marker assisted selection in goat breeding programs.

Polymorphism analysis of kisspeptin (KISS1) gene and its association with litter size in Ethiopian indigenous goat populations

Our latest outputs -

Polymorphism analysis of kisspeptin (KISS1) gene and its association with litter size in Ethiopian indigenous goat populations Mekuriaw, G.; Mwacharo, J.M.; Dessie, Tadelle; Okeyo Mwai, Ally; Djikeng, Appolinaire; Osama, S.; Gebreyesus, G.; Kidane, A.; Abegaz, S.; Tesfaye, K. Polymorphism analysis of the Kisspeptin (KISS1) gene and its association with litter size were conducted in two (Gondar and Woyto Guji) Ethiopian indigenous goat populations. Three new pairs of primers were designed for touchdown PCR condition. A total of 173 and 242 Sanger sequences were employed for further analysis of exon1 (1210 bp) and exon2 (325 bp) regions of the KISS1 gene, respectively. In addition, the identified polymorphic sites were associated with litter size of the animals included in the study. General linear model was carried out for the association analysis. The study revealed that five complete substitutions and 15 polymorphic sites were detected in both exon regions with 2:1 transition and transversion ratio. Most of the polymorphic sites were observed in more than 1% of the sequences qualifying the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) definition. The overall average codon bias index was 0.301 with 64.09 and 62.47% GC contents in exon1 and exon2, respectively. The overall average HE was 0.18863±0.21 for exon1 and 0.03155±0.01. Only four loci, which constitute 10 genotypes, from the polymorphic sites showed significant contribution of litter size of the goat populations studied. Heterozygous genotypes (TC and GC at g.950T>C and g.3416G>C, respectively) had performed highest estimates of litter size in three of the loci which contributed for litter size. However, the homozygous genotype observed at locus g.3811C>T showed highest contribution for fecundity trait. 18 to 31% performance differences of litter size were observed due to the influence of the genotypes. In conclusion, the SNP detected in those target regions of the gene confirm the contribution of the KISS1 gene for fecundity trait suggesting importance of the gene for marker assisted selection in goat breeding programs.

Effects of flood irrigation on the risk of selected zoonotic pathogens in an arid and semi-arid area in the eastern Kenya

Our latest outputs -

Effects of flood irrigation on the risk of selected zoonotic pathogens in an arid and semi-arid area in the eastern Kenya Bett, B.; Said, M.Y.; Sang, R.; Bukachi, S.; Wanyoike, S.; Kifugo, S.C.; Otieno, F.; Ontiri, E.; Njeru, I.; Lindahl, J.; Grace, D. To investigate the effects of irrigation on land cover changes and the risk of selected zoonotic pathogens, we carried out a study in irrigated, pastoral and riverine areas in the eastern Kenya. Activities implemented included secondary data analyses to determine land use and land cover (LULC) changes as well as human, livestock and wildlife population trends; entomological surveys to characterize mosquitoes population densities and species distribution by habitat and season; and serological surveys in people to determine the risk of Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), West Nile fever virus (WNV), dengue fever virus (DFV), Leptospira spp. and Brucella spp. Results demonstrate a drastic decline in vegetation cover over ≈25 years particularly in the irrigated areas where cropland increased by about 1,400% and non-farm land (under closed trees, open to closed herbaceous vegetation, bushlands and open trees) reduced by 30–100%. The irrigated areas had high densities of Aedes mcintoshi, Culex spp. and Mansonia spp. (important vectors for multiple arboviruses) during the wet and dry season while pastoral areas had high densities of Ae. tricholabis specifically in the wet season. The seroprevalences of RVFV, WNV and DFV were higher in the irrigated compared to the pastoral areas while those for Leptospira spp and Brucella spp. were higher in the pastoral compared to the irrigated areas. It is likely that people in the pastoral areas get exposed to Leptospira spp by using water fetched from reservoirs that are shared with livestock and wildlife, and to Brucella spp. by consuming raw or partially cooked animal-source foods such as milk and meat. This study suggests that irrigation increases the risk of mosquito-borne infections while at the same time providing a protective effect against zoonotic pathogens that thrive in areas with high livestock population densities.

Working with women farmers to make Cambodian communities “Plantwise”

CRP 7 News -

Women farmers play a critical role in agricultural production and food security, as well as household welfare in most Southeast Asian countries. According to a Census of Agriculture in Cambodia in 2013, of the 82% of Cambodians engaged in the agriculture sector, at least half of them were women.

Female youth and women, however, have limited access to education, agricultural extension services and social events, as they often have low education backgrounds, and are frequently busy with household activities and other unpaid work. They are historically underrepresented in agriculture decision-making and community leadership as well.

Agricultural development projects are now seeking to increase women’s involvement. The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), aims to improve gender equality and women farmers’ decision-making in agriculture through the establishment of Climate-Smart Villages (CSVs). Rohal Suong Village in Battambang, Cambodia is one of the six CSVs in Southeast Asia. 

As such, the Rohal Suong CSV has emphasized the inclusion of women farmers in its activities and strategies, such as the Plant Clinic. Operating since June 2016, it is a meeting place where plant advisors and assistants help farmers who are faced with issues of plant pests and diseases. The Clinic has been supported by WorldFish and Center for Agriculture and Bioscience International Southeast Asia (CABI-SEA). Plant advisors and assistants, who are trained through CABI’s Plantwise program, provide diagnoses, treatment advice and recommendations to farmers. Women farmers are encouraged to join the program.

Training and field practices on rice pest and diseases provided by Cambodia's General Directorate of Agriculture and CABI's Plantwise program.  Women farmers join the program. Photo: Dyna Eam (WorldFish)

The Plant Clinic is currently led by plant advisors from Battambang Provincial Department of Agriculture and Aphivat Strey (AS), a local NGO, and supported by plant assistants. Plant assistants who are recruited from local farmers play an important role in engaging local farmers to bring their crop issues to the clinic and also in following up with client farmers.

One woman farmer, Ms Savet, was recruited to join the Plant Clinic as a plant assistant. Through her involvement in the project, she has learned several things, such as plant disease identification, plant treatment, and community engagement. She has also had more opportunities to work closely with other community committees and to deliver services to local farmers, particularly other women. Ms Savet was not only able to help local farmers to improve their plant management technique, but has also applied the techniques and treatment methods she learned on her own farm.      

I am so happy to work as a plant assistant because I have learned many things about plant disease, pest and treatment methods from the plant advisers and trainings, such as training in Phnom Penh. Now I can provide the advice on some plant diseases to my villagers,” said Ms Savet. 

As a result of her experience in the project, Ms Savet has been recruited as an agricultural extension worker for her commune. Now, she is organizing groups of community members for an agricultural demonstration project run by the Battambang Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the Agriculture Services Programme for Innovation Resilience and Extension (ASPIRE). ASPIRE is a program of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, and is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

I thought that I was recruited as a commune extension worker because I could answer well the questions from examination committees, actually this knowledge came from my experiences at Plant Clinic,” added Ms Savet.

She is now trying to understand the common and different needs of women and men famers in agriculture. Ms Savet is keen to learn more about agricultural technologies and extension service methods, and to transfer her knowledge to her villagers.

Engaging local farmers through the Plant Clinic and extension work is an approach that has helped to successfully build local farmers’ capacities and also help local farmers, particularly women farmers, to get better access to agricultural services. In doing so, the project has helped improve the livelihoods of farming households and increase the resilience of agriculture-dependent communities.

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PIM in the CGIAR Research Portfolio 2017-2022

CRP 2: program news -

The newly launched CGIAR Research Portfolio tackles growing complexity of agricultural development challenges. 14 global research programs and platforms will take more collaborative, data-driven and cross-cutting approach over six-year horizon.  The CGIAR Portfolio 2017-2022 is the second generation of CGIAR’s Research Programs and Platforms aimed at reducing rural poverty, improving food and nutrition security and improving natural resources >> Read more

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