Technologies and research related services
The genomics platform is housed by the Sequencing Genotyping and Oligonucleotide (SEGOLIP) unit which undertakes genome scale sequencing, genotyping and oligonucleotide services. With the only next-generation, high output sequencing machines in eastern and central Africa, the genomics platform avails cutting-edge genome sequencing and analysis technology previously unavailable to regional scientists. Applications include pathogen detection, diagnostics, and risk assessment, gene expression analysis, metagenomics, and determining genetic diversity in crops and animals.
Since 2009, the SSR-based genotyping services and data analysis support has been generating approximately 182,500 data points annually in crop and livestock research. In 2015, the genotyping capabilities will be expanded to offer genotyping by sequencing (GBS) on the Illumina platform.
The bioinformatics platform provides advanced computational capabilities, allowing advanced bioinformatics analysis using high-speed, specialized hardware and sophisticated commercial and academic software. The platform also maintains the latest copies of all major sequence databases.
Resources provided include a computational architecture with 152 computing cores, over 400GB of RAM and 40 terabytes of distributed disk storage. The computational infrastructure is on a Linux operating system running on a Dell PowerEdge R910 High Performance Computing (HPC) server consisting of a 32 core Intel Xeon X7560 Processor, 128 GB Memory and 8 terabytes of disk storage. All data generated, databases and bioinformatics software are stored on the central server.
Nutrition analysis and mycotoxin diagnostics
In a first for the region, the BecA-ILRI Hub has established a nutritional analysis platform where complete nutrient profiling of foods can be undertaken. The Hub has also established an improved and expanded mycotoxin diagnostic platform which enables the detection and screening for a range of fungi that affect food safety and quality.
Molecular breeding platform
The Breeding platform at the BecA-ILRI Hub was designed to enhance plant breeding and livestock research efficiency. The platform hosts a regional hub of the Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP) which is coordinated by the CGIAR Generation Challenge Program and gives breeders access to the Breeding Management System (BMS), an all-in-one suite of tools for effectively management of activities from project planning to final decision-making.
The Integrated Genotyping Support and Service (IGSS) on the breeding platform is an innovative genotyping service and support to serve plant and livestock breeding programs to enhance the rate of genetic gain. Through a demand-led variety approach, the breeding platform aims at making plant breeding in Africa a business model responsive to market demand. The platform generates, manages genomic and marker data, and provides support to breeders and other scientists in integrating DNA marker technology and genomic tools in the development and release of new varieties.
The facility is equipped for diagnostics (serology and molecular), cell imaging, molecular immunology and virology including; BD Facscanto II flow cytometer and BD influxTM Cell Sorter, Heamatology autoanalyzer, two AID EliSpot Reader Systems with camera, Luminex screening system for detecting and quantifying multiple target analytes, tissue culture systems, FPLC apparatus and other equipment required for vaccine development and infectious disease research. Vaccines under development include African swine fever (ASF), contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), East Coast fever (ECF), peste de petits ruminants (PPR) and Rift Valley fever (RVF). Associated with the platform is an enhanced BSL2 large animal facility for contained vaccine trials and a tick unit to support vector and vector-borne disease research.
Plant growth facility
The 1400 m2 facility consists of a greenhouse, screen house, growth chambers and culture rooms. Greenhouse compartments are equipped with computer-controlled roof vents and evaporative cooling mechanisms to control temperature and humidity. The facility contains a weather station, light intensity controls, rainwater collection and biosafety chambers.
To request use of greenhouse, screen-house or growth chamber space, fill and submit the Plant Facility User Request Form. The request must include the square meters of bench space needed, number of plants, the commencement date and duration of the project. It should also include the name of the plants to be grown, the contact person’s details and any requirements for plant care. (Click here to fill the form)
The Central Core Unit prepares tissue culture media, microbiological growth media and plates, and buffers. The unit also provides laboratory glass-wash, sterilization and laboratory waste management services. Media preparation services are available at competitive rates to BecA-ILRI Hub lab users and to other scientists and institutions.
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