Hybrid corn could eradicate harvest-destroying disease in Africa

African farmer
Credit: Anne Wangalachi/CIMMYT

A centralized maize lethal necrosis disease screening facility established in [Kenya] five years ago has released 15 disease-resistant hybrid maize varieties in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. After screening more than 150,000 maize germplasms, the team [confirmed several genes] in maize confer resistance to maize lethal necrosis disease (MLND). They then transferred the resistant genes to 30 varieties adapted for Africa.

MLND is a viral maize disease caused by co-infection with ….  other viruses such as the sugarcane mosaic virus …. The disease can destroy entire harvests of maize and is thus a severe food security risk in East Africa …. It also threatens the livelihoods of millions of farmers.

Related article:  Viewpoint: As most of Africa 'dilly-dallied,' Sudan, South Africa boosted food production with biotech crops

MLND resistant varieties will cushion farmers against massive losses attributed to the disease not just in Kenya, but all over Africa with the exception of Southern Africa ….With the adoption of resistant varieties, it is hoped that the disease will soon be eliminated.

Read full, original article: Hybrid maize resists lethal necrosis

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