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03rd March 2022
Welcome to issue 49 of the DrumBeat!
A Special Issue on Genome Editing

New breeding technologies, such as genome editing, hold the promise to addressing some of Africa's intractable challenges in agriculture. In this special issue on genome editing, the DrumBeat dives into the continent's early take off as it conducts promising research using this emerging technology.

The Video of the Month highlights a research project that uses CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing technology to develop multiple vaccines against African swine fever (ASF) in order to prevent or eradicate this disease. The project is conducted at the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi. ASF is a viral disease that can cause up to 100% mortality in pigs, and there are currently no vaccines or cures for the disease.

In the Story of the Month, Dr. John Odipio – a Ugandan biotechnologist – shares insights into his intervention to address the challenge of poor flowering in cassava by use of genome editing technology. Poor flowering has constrained improvement of this root crop making it difficult for breeders to produce new varieties faster.

The DrumBeat also celebrates the release of Nigeria's National Gene Editing Guidelines, a milestone in genome editing development in Africa. We also congratulate Ghana on progress towards environmental release of pod borer resistant cowpea especially as they conduct public participation.

ISAAA AfriCenter is tracking genome editing research progress in Africa. To be featured in the Second Edition (2022) of the 'Genome Editing in Africa's Agriculture: An Early Take-off' booklet, register your genome editing project here


Taming African Swine Fever Virus Using CRISPR Cas9

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Dr. John Odipio

Dr. John Odipio
Genome Editing Expert, NARO

How Genome Editing will address the Challenge of Cassava Breeding in Africa

Cassava is an important food security crop and income earner for millions of smallholder farmers in Africa. It is the second most important food crop after plantain in Uganda. However, according to Uganda Bureau of Statistics, cassava production has been on the decline. Poor flowering is a key factor that has constrained improvement of cassava. Dr. John Odipio, a biotechnologist is on a mission to address this challenge using genome editing.

From Our Newsroom
ISAAA AfriCenter becomes an Excellence Through Stewardship Member

ISAAA AfriCenter becomes an Excellence Through Stewardship Member

ISAAA AfriCenter is now an Excellence Through Stewardship (ETS) associate member. ETS is a global organization that promotes the adoption of product stewardship programs and quality management systems for the full life cycle of agricultural biotechnology products. As an associate member, ISAAA will continue to support plant biotechnology and ETS's mission. Read more.

Nigeria Releases National Guidelines on genome editing

Nigeria Releases National Guidelines on Gene Editing

Nigeria's National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has released the national guidelines on gene editing and distributed printed copies of the guidelines to the public. This development demonstrates NBMA's dedication in ensuring that all gene-edited products in Nigeria are properly regulated. Read more

Change of Guard at Kenyas Biosafety Authority

Change of Guard at Kenya's Biosafety Authority

Dr, Roy Mugiira has been appointed the acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), Kenya, following Prof. Dorrington Ogoyi's completion of his term. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Mugiira was the Director of Technical Services (DTS) at NBA. The DRUMBEAT team congratulates him on this appointment as we also thank Prof Ogoyi for exemplary performance during his tenure at the Authority and wish him every success in his next endeavour. Read more

AfriCenter Board Member shares perspective on why different farming practices can co-exist

AfriCenter Board Member shares perspective on why different farming practices can co-exist

ISAAA AfriCenter Board member Prof. Ratemo Michieka shares an interesting perspective on why Africa's smallholder farmers must use both traditional and new farming practices. In an article published in an international news agency, Prof. Michieka, renowned scholar, argues that no one option can address the intractable challenge of climate change. He believes both agroecology and advanced farming techniques can co-exist. Read more.

Towards progressive regulatory 
                                      approaches for agricultural applications of animal biotechnology
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