Head of the excellence in breeding platform tours ILRI facilities


The Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub hosted a lab tour by Michael Quinn, head of the new CGIAR initiative—Excellence in Breeding Platform— and Mariane Banziger, deputy director general for the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)

The CGIAR is establishing the Excellence in Breeding Platform to support modernization of breeding programs in developing countries for greater impact on food and nutrition security, climate change adaptation and development. This will be achieved through provision of access to cutting-edge tools, services and best practices, application-oriented training and practical advice.

During the lab tour, Quinn and Banzinger visited the various technology platforms at the BecA-ILRI Hub including the genomics and bioinformatics platform and the Integrated Genotyping Service and Support (IGSS) platform; and the Plant Molecular Breeding platform. They also visited ILRI’s bio-repository and interacted with staff from CGIAR centers—International Potato Centre (CIP) and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)— and scientists from African national research systems (NARS) whose research is hosted at ILRI.  They also visited the experimental plots where five varieties of Brachiaria grass are being evaluated for adaptability to various environmental stresses under the BecA-led  ‘Climate smart Brachiaria grass to increase livestock production in East Africa’  program, as well as the ILRI animal unit.

Quinn and Banzinger are on a mission to assess the status and challenges of individual centers’ breeding programs, information that will underpin the agenda of the new Platform.


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