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Dec 2, 2011

Cornell Receives US$7M to Fund GM Banana Research on Uganda Matoke Bananas

Cornell University's ABSPII director, Frank Shotkoski (left)
and East Africa country
Tilahu Zeweldu inspect a
matoke banana field in Gulu, Uganda
Photo: Cornell University
On 1 December 2011 Cornell University's Chronicle Online reported that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) had granted Cornell University US$7 million to fund research on finding way to prevent pests and diseases from attacking Matoke bananas.  Sometimes referred to as East African Highland bananas, this variety is feeds more than half of Ugandans.  Aside from being a primary food staple, it is a primary source of income for a majority of Ugandan farmers.  A large percentage of Matoke varieties do not reproduce by seed making the crop extremely vulnerable to being quickly devastated by insect infestations and viruses.

Scientists at Cornell University will be studying how to use biotechnology (gene-modified technology) to study how to develop GM bananas that are insect resistance and virus resistance.  This technology offers a potential for finding solutions in a shorter amount of time than conventional hybridization.  The USAID grant will be managed by Cornell's Agricultural Biotechnology Research Project (ABSPII) through October 2016.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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