Cassava Brown Streak Disease is an emerging and major virus threat to cassava production in East Africa. A PhD supervisory team of Prof. Dave Berger (MPPI), Dr Albé van der Merwe (CTHB, TPCP) and Prof. Zander Myburg (FMG) are supporting a Gates Foundation project on the genetics of cassava tolerance to CBSD led by Dr Morag Ferguson, IITA in Nairobi, Kenya.

Three FABI PhD students who are registered at the University of Pretoria but are based in Uganda and Kenya - Teddy Amuge, Esther Masamba, and Inosters Inzuki - recently published first author papers together with other consortium members. These papers all deal with the molecular genetics and genomics of viral disease resistance impacting cassava production in East Africa using methods such as QTL mapping, genome resequencing and whole-transcriptome profiling over a time-course after infection. The results hold potential for genetic improvement through molecular breeding and genetic engineering of cassava.

Amuge T, Berger DK, Katari MS, Myburg AA, Goldman SL, Ferguson ME. (2017) A time series transcriptome analysis of cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) varieties challenged with Ugandan cassava brown streak virus. Scientific Reports 7:9747. 10.1038/s41598-017-09617-z

Masumba EA, Kapinga F, Mkamilo G, Salum K, Kulembeka H, Rounsley S, Bredeson JV, Lyons JB, Rokhsar DS, Kanju E, Katari MS, Myburg AAvan der Merwe NA, Ferguson ME. (2017) QTL associated with resistance to cassava brown streak and cassava mosaic diseases in a bi-parental cross of two Tanzanian farmer varieties, Namikonga and Albert. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 10.1007/s00122-017-2943-z

Nzuki I, Katari MS, Bredeson JV, Masumba E, Kapinga F, Salum K, Mkamilo GS, Shah T, Lyons JB, Rokhsar DS, Rounsley S, Myburg AA, Ferguson ME. (2017) QTL Mapping for Pest and Disease Resistance in Cassava and Coincidence of Some QTL with Introgression Regions Derived from Manihot glaziovii. Frontiers in Plant Science 8(1168) 10.3389/fpls.2017.01168