Feed the world: major genome breakthrough made

A new cheap source of food could soon be made available for areas of the world hit by poverty, through the recent code breaking of the pigeonpea genome. The plant […]

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By Tom Gibson

A new cheap source of food could soon be made available for areas of the world hit by poverty, through the recent code breaking of the pigeonpea genome. The plant could be key to saving lives due to its high protein content and its drought-surviving characteristics.

William Dar, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute, said: “The mapping of the pigeonpea genome is a major breakthrough. Now that the world is faced with hunger and famine, particularly in the Horn of Africa brought about by the worst drought for decades, this is vital to providing a solution to poverty and hunger.”

The breakthrough will help to reduce the cost of developing new improved varieties of pigeonpea for farmers, grown on about 5 million hectares in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and South-Central America.