Inaugural class of CRISPR technology graduates poised to shape the future of agriculture

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As the world’s foremost experts unite in their efforts to combat food insecurity and malnutrition, both exacerbated by climate change and responsible for stunting over 30% of children under the age of five, a group of new scientists emerged in October, equipped to enhance crop production through the art of gene editing.

The ten doctoral-level scientists from six different African nations, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, and Nigeria, have undergone an intensive six-week training program hosted by the African Plant Breeding Academy (APBA) to refine their skills in advanced crop breeding. The training focused on Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR), which enables precise, targeted alterations to DNA sequences in living organisms, particularly crops.

Strengthening the expertise of agricultural scientists within the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) across Africa with the latest technological advancements will help improve crop varieties. This will address various agricultural challenges, such as resistance to diseases, resilience against extreme weather conditions, and increased yields. Ultimately, this would lead to the transformation of African agriculture, improving the productivity and livelihoods of local farmers.

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