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April 14th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

In the developed world, most people eat the root vegetable cassava only in tapioca pudding or bubble tea. But in sub-Saharan Africa, it’s the primary staple for half a billion people and is the continent’s most popular crop. It has gained prominence due to its tolerance to extreme weather conditions, making it a reliable food security crop.

But it’s future is in danger. It is threatened by two viruses: brown streak (CBSD) and mosaic (CMD). It’s estimated that $1.25 billion worth of cassava plants succumb to the viruses every year. It is the dream of farmers, scientists, and affected African governments to develop a variety that is resistant to both of these killer diseases. Read more