Kenya greenlights disease-resistant genetically modified cassava

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Credit: Cassava Plus
Credit: Cassava Plus

Kenya will soon start planting Genetically Modified (GM) and disease-resistant cassava after the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) approved the release of the variety. The variety, Event 4046, is resistant to cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) and will help boost production and improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers through increased income.

[Kalro Biotechnology Centre director Catherine] Taracha explains that there are two major diseases that are a challenge to cassava production. They are Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD), where you get crinkling of the leaves and Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD), where you get streaks of brown on the cassava and malformation of the roots.

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“We took our improved cassava with resistant cassava brown streak disease and crossed it with farmer-preferred variety that had latent cassava mosaic disease resistance. This was done several times and the seed germinated into seedlings which were taken through various evaluation to ensure disease resistance.”

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