Purdue Researcher Lands $5M From Gates Foundation

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(Image of Gebisa Ejeta courtesy of Purdue University.) (Image of Gebisa Ejeta courtesy of Purdue University.)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting Purdue University research to find stronger and more versatile sorghum varieties for African farmers. The $5 million grant is the second grant from the foundation secured by Purdue Center for Global Food Security Director Gebisa Ejeta. He previously led a team that identified a gene and biological processes that control resistance to a parasitic weed dangerous to sorghum and other crops.

The research has sprouted the creation of new sorghum varieties that are striga and drought-resistant. The new grant will focus on identifying more genes involved in "broad-based and durable" striga resistance. Ejeta says "with more high-throughput phenotyping and the ability to sequence a large slate of genotypes, we identified an important gene that is foundational for imparting striga resistance. It helps to move that gene with confidence and consider new ways of exploiting that gene. Some of that we've already been working on."

The previous discoveries have led to the creation of 961 tons of seed distributed to more than 400,000 Ethiopian and Tanzanian farmers. The new efforts will support researchers in Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Mali, which Ejeta says "creates opportunities for farmers and small businesses to engage in gainful employment and develop the agricultural industry in these countries."

You can connect to more about the grant and research by clicking here.

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