The AfricaYam Project Leader, Dr. Patrick Adebola and IITA Yam Breeder, Dr. Asrat Amele recently visited Boyce Thompson Institute, BTI and NextGen Cassava team in Ithaca, USA.
Dr. Adebola and Dr. Asrat with Dr Lukas Mueller and his team at BTI
BTI is an independent research institute that uses plant sciences to improve agriculture and has been involved in the AfricaYam project since inception. They created a database called YamBase that hosts pedigree data, phenotypic data from field trials, genomic resources and laboratory assays, as well as assemblage of curated historical phenotypic data from IITA and partner programs for analysis.
The Institute has also conducted numerous trainings for the user groups in both IITA and the breeding programs of the four target countries. The YamBase so far counts over 54,000 accessions with over 1,500 genotypes, 7 breeding programs, 197 assayed traits, about 414,000 phenotype scores and over 325 trials.
Dr. Adebola said the one-week visit was to meet with the BTI YamBase development team to review the progress made so far and to suggest areas of improvement and plans for AfricaYam phase 2.
He also said they were able to meet with the BTI group and made useful suggestions on how to improve the usability of the database and suggested additional traits to be added to yam ontology. “It is our hope that YamBase will be a one-stop-shop for farmers” he said.
They also met with the NextGen Cassava team in Cornell and explored areas of possible collaboration in preparation for AfricaYam phase 2. NextGen Cassava is a Breeding project that works with a number of institutional partners and collaborators for efficient delivery of improved varieties of cassava.
Dr. Egesi, Dr Adebola and Dr. Asrat during their visit to NextGen Cassava team at Cornell