Genetic descriptors published for Africa’s baobab—the ‘tree of life’

| | January 9, 2015
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

A new publication, ‘Descriptors for Baobab,’ opens the way for accelerated and better-standardized research into this iconic tree. This highly nutritious African food tree is called the ‘Tree of Life’ because of its importance to local communities.

“Baobab is the first neglected, undomesticated African food tree species to enter the Descriptors Series,” said Katja Kehlenbeck, research scientist with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). “Besides being an important, nutritious source of food for local people in many African countries, the baobab tree has the potential to increase the incomes of , particularly women,” she adds.

Descriptors are a standardized international system that defines the different characteristics of a species and allows scientists all over the world to accurately assess the genetic and morphological diversity in its genetic resources. Such assessments are crucial for the selection and domestication of plant species.

This descriptor list will help in the domestication and cultivation of the species that is necessary to sustainably develop baobab value chains and meet the growing demand from local and international customers for high quality baobab products.

Read full, original article: Characterizing baobab, the nutritious African ‘Tree of Life’

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