Cornell University: New initiative to confront taro leaf blight in Nigeria

Researchers in Nigeria are on a mission to upend taro leaf blight (TLB) epidemics across West Africa. The infectious plant disease attacks the leaves of taro, which has historically reduced taro yields by up to 50% and leaf yield losses of up to 95%.

Taro, also referred to as cocoyam, is a staple root crop that is essential for food security in the region, providing critical sources of fiber and micronutrients. The new project based at the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement will use genetic analyses to better understand TLB and develop varieties that can stand up to the plant pathogen.

Led by Lydia Jiwuba at the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), the study will be the first of its kind to follow a single marker approach to analyze the genetic basis of TLB resistance and corm quality in a biparental mapping population.

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