Mars, Incorporated And Partners Confirm That Genome Data Of Africa’s ‘Orphan Crops’ To Be Made Public
Announced during G8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture
Howard-Yana Shapiro, Mars Chief Agricultural Officer, made the statement during the G8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture held in partnership with World Bank Group in Washington D.C. Shapiro led a partnership that sequenced, assembled and annotated the cacao (cocoa) genome and made this data available on the Internet to all researchers in 2010.
The AOCC is an collaboration led by the New Partnership for
Officially launched at the Clinton Global Initiative meetings in 2011, the AOCC is an effort to improve the nutrition, productivity and climatic adaptability of some of
Shapiro commented: “Getting opportunities to grow nutritious food into the hands of those who need it most has been the ambition of the African Orphan Crops Consortium since inception. It is hugely exciting to realize that through the pursuit of fundamental science the AOCC is playing its role in fighting chronic hunger and malnutrition, and Mars is proud to be a part of this effort.”
AOCC’s goal is to sequence, assemble and annotate the genomes of 100 traditional African food crops that would enable higher nutritional content for society over the decades to come. The resulting information will be put into the public domain with the endorsement of the African Union through a process managed by the intellectual property organization, Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture (PIPRA).
‘Orphan crops’ including African eggplant and potato, cocoyam and Ethiopian mustard, refer to African food crops and tree species that have been neglected by researchers because they are not economically important on the global market. Making more widely available the genome sequences will allow African and other scientists to breed varieties of these species that are more nutritious, productive and robust.
Information generated through the AOCC will be shared with African researchers through the establishment of the African Plant Breeding Academy, which will have facilities at the World Agroforestry Center in
Among over 90 speakers, Mars, Incorporated’s Howard-Yana Shapiro addressed the G8 conference on the topic of ‘Uncommon collaborations to improve rural nutrition in
G8 countries, African partners and relevant stakeholders joined at the conference to share important agricultural data that can be distributed over 2014-15 to farmers, researchers and policymakers globally in order to improve food security and sustainability. The conference marks the next phase of the shared commitment to achieving global food security as set out by President Obama in the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition commitment. The commitment aims to help lift 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa out of poverty in the next 10 years by supporting agricultural development.
To learn more and keep up to date on the latest news and developments, please visit http://www.mars.com/global/africanorphancrops
For more information about the G8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture please visit: https://sites.google.com/site/g8opendataconference/home
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