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


The overarching goal of the project is to provide livestock farmers in the SSA geographic region 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 SSA. Napier grass can withstand repetitive cuttings and is known to yield up to 60 tonnes dry matter/ha/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.