The Next Generation Cassava Breeding (NEXTGEN Cassava) project aims to significantly increase the rate of genetic improvement in cassava breeding and unlock the full potential of cassava, a staple crop central to food security and livelihoods across Africa. The project will implement and empirically test a new breeding method known as Genomic Selection that relies on statistical modeling to predict cassava performance before field-testing, and dramatically accelerates the breeding cycle.
NEXTGEN Cassava will invest in human and infrastructure capacity at partner breeding programs; develop methods to increase flowering and seed set in cassava; create a database (www.cassavabase.org) centralizing information tracking, genotypic and phenotypic data, and Genomic Selection prediction analyses; enhance cassava germplasm exchange between Latin American and Africa; and support the establishment of a biotechnology/biosafety outreach and training hub at the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) in Uganda.
NextGen is led by International Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and National Root Crops Research Institute breeding centers in Nigeria, the National Crops Resources Research Institute in Uganda, Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries, the West African Centre for Crop Improvement in Ghana, Makerere University in Uganda, and the Boyce Thompson Institute, USDA-ARS, and the U.S. Department of Energy in the United States. NEXTGEN Cassava is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development.