Overcoming forage challenges in Africa: exploring sequence diversity in Napier grass to fast-track breeding projects at national level

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The overarching goal of the project is to provide livestock farmers in sub-Saharan Africa with better varieties of Napier grass (Cenchrus purpureus) that will support the efficient, sustainable and resilient livestock systems. Napier grass is a key traditional forage species in sub-Saharan Africa. Napier grass can withstand repetitive cuttings and is known to yield up to 60 tonnes dry matter/hectare per year.

 

In this project, we propose to capture the maximal range of polymorphisms by whole-genome sequencing of 500 accessions of Napier grass with the project focus on the identification of molecular markers associated with drought tolerance, crude protein content, water soluble carbohydrates, self-incompatibility, disease resistance and frost tolerance traits.