IITA News

Paper on using genome-editing tools to develop climate-smart banana varieties among the top-most downloaded

While banana is an important staple crop feeding more than 500 million people in the tropical and subtropical countries, its production is negatively affected by a myriad of factors including diseases and pests, declining soil fertility, and climate change. Efforts to develop improved disease resistant and drought tolerant banana varieties are, however, slowed down by…

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Unlocking the diversity of microorganisms around banana roots

Unlocking the diversity of microorganisms around banana roots

The human body hosts trillions of microorganisms both inside and on the skin. Many of them are beneficial and help in the digestion of food, making vitamins, and boosting the body’s immune systems, among other things. Similarly, for plants, the soils around the roots host diverse microorganisms, some of which are beneficial to the plants,…

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Banana plants’ defense against deadly wilting disease may be in the soil

Banana plants’ defense against deadly wilting disease may be in the soil

Fusarium wilt, a soilborne fungal disease popularly known as Panama disease, is one of the most devastating diseases of banana. It is responsible for the crop’s declining yield in the Great Lakes region of Africa, where banana is a major source of food and income for millions of smallholder farmers. The disease is spread by…

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Tanzania’s traditional cooking banana yields more than expected!

The yield potential of an important cooking banana in Tanzania, known as Mchare, has exceeded expectations! Yields of up to 51 t/ha/year were obtained by the study team. Mchare, alongside Uganda’s “Matooke” is one of the East Africa Highland (EAHB) bananas that are cultivated both for food and income by millions of smallholder farmers in…

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Scientists develop effective tool for exploring the genetic diversity of the bacterial wilt pathogen in banana and enset in East and Central Africa

Scientists develop effective tool for exploring the genetic diversity of the bacterial wilt pathogen in banana and enset in East and Central Africa

One of the diseases affecting banana in East and Central Africa and threatening the food and income of over 70 million people is Xanthomonas wilt (XW), a disease caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas vasicola pv. musacearum (Xvm). The disease also attacks enset, an ancient false banana indigenous to Ethiopia, where it was first reported in…

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Survey identifies Black Sigatoka banana disease hotspots in Uganda and Tanzania

Survey also finds disease is well established and more widespread than previously thought Both Luwero District in Uganda and Mbarara District, Kagera Region in Tanzania have been identified as the areas most affected by the deadly banana disease, black Sigatoka which is caused by a fungus. The disease, which was found to be more severe…

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IITA working on Africa’s first genome edited banana

IITA working on Africa’s first genome edited banana

The new frontier for agricultural innovation is genome editing and IITA is already leading the way by using the technology to improve several crops. Principal Scientist and Deputy Director of IITA East Africa Hub, Dr Leena Tripathi revealed this during the Third Africa Biennial Biosciences Communication Symposium (ABBC), which took place in Pretoria South Africa,…

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Another PhD for the Breeding Better Banana project as Michael Batte successfully defends his thesis

Another PhD for the Breeding Better Banana project as Michael Batte successfully defends his thesis

Michael Batte successfully defended his PhD thesis titled Increasing efficiency of the breeding pipeline for East African highland bananas on 4 June at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) Alnarp campus. His studies were sponsored by the Breeding Better Banana project that is led by IITA as part of its capacity building program. This…

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IITA scientists and partners screen up to 189 types of banana for provitamin A

IITA scientists and partners screen up to 189 types of banana for provitamin A

R4D Special Scientists have finalized the mammoth task of screening up to 189 banana genotypes to identify those with high levels of provitamin A for integration into IITA’s banana improvement program as part of ongoing efforts to develop banana hybrids with enhanced vitamin A. The fat-soluble vitamin A is essential for vision, reproduction, growth, and…

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Brigitte Uwimana, IITA Scientist planting a sucker.

Interview with Brigitte Uwimana, Banana Molecular Breeder

Brigitte Uwimana is IITA Banana Molecular Breeder from Rwandan based in Uganda. In this interview, she shares some of her experiences working as a researcher. Q: As an upcoming young female scientist at IITA, did you always want to do science? A: Science has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. I always…

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