Saturday, April 3, 2010

Building marker-assisted selection capacity of national partners

A regional training workshop organized by AfricaRice jointly supported through its Green Super Rice (GSR) Project and CORAF/WECARD Project on “Research methods in marker-assisted selection (MAS)” was held in Cotonou, Benin, from 29 Mar to 3 Apr 2010. MAS is a tool that allows the direct application of molecular markers to make plant breeding programs easier and more efficient.

The aim of the workshop was to upgrade the capacity of plant breeders from research centers and universities of 12 African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Uganda) to use research methodologies applied in MAS. AfricaRice and IRD experts served as resource persons for the workshop.

The workshop, which included theoretical and practical sessions, helped the participants gain a better understanding of the importance of molecular markers in breeding. Participants were able to learn various practical techniques relating to DNA extraction, PCR reactions, thermal cycler programming and amplification, PCR product separation on agarose and polyacrylamide gels, gel staining, data scoring and interpretation.
The participants highlighted the importance of forming a network that will enable them to exchange information on MAS-related research activities in the participating countries. They also pointed out the importance of establishing functional biotechnology laboratories in their countries and regional supply system to facilitate procurement of laboratory material.