A genetic selection method helps African breeders to grow beans that are disease-resistant.
Photo: Georgina Smith/CIAT


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Swiss researchers in cooperation with the CGIAR centre CIAT are involved in the development and implementation of a method to efficiently breed for disease-resistant beans in different regions of the world. Their work will help to improve the livelihood and food security of smallholders in developing countries.

For many people in Africa and Latin America, beans are an important staple. In numerous regions, however, plant diseases severely reduce bean yields. For example, the dreaded angular leaf spot disease can cause yield losses of up to 80 per cent – especially in Africa, where smallholders rarely have the opportunity to protect their crops with fungicides.

Genomics-assisted breeding

Working with Bodo Raatz and his team at the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia, Swiss researchers of the ETH (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule), based in Zürich/Switzerland, from the group led by Bruno Studer, Professor of Molecular Plant Breeding, investigated the resistance of beans to angular leaf spot disease. Their findings are now enabling disease-resistant bean varieties to be bred more rapidly and selectively for the world’s various bean-producing regions.

Their method is built upon genome analyses of those beans that are potentially suitable for breeding new, resistant varieties.

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