Scientists generate farmer-preferred haplotype-resolved cassava reference genome

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IITACGIAR PhD student Michael Landi, with the support of IITA scientists Livia Stavolone, Trushar Shah, and Andreas Gisel and in collaboration with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden, the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, and the Italian Research Council in Bari, Italy, generated a haplotype-resolved diploid assembly of the cassava cultivar TMEB117, a farmer-preferred cassava cultivar, using PacBio HiFi reads. The high-quality genome assembly was published in December 2023 and is a part of the EpiCass and CassavaNet4Dev projects, both funded by the Swedish Research Council.

TMEB117 (also called TME117 or isunikankiyan) is a Nigerian cassava landrace highly susceptible to African cassava mosaic virus (ACMV). This genotype served as a reference for ACMV studies, and this high-resolution genome will pave the way for the ongoing investigations in epigenetics and small RNA expression analysis to learn more about the mechanisms of ACMV resistance in cassava and the large variability in storage root yield between plants of the same genotype in the same field. The outcome of these studies will give insight into the molecular mechanisms and create data and knowledge to support future breeding programs.

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