A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
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Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Posted 2:43 PM by Luigi
Research Projects funded by the Gates Foundation
Two of these will be of relevance to the Pacific.
Development of Bananas with Optimized Bioavailable Micronutrients
Lead investigator: James Langham Dale, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Grant amount: $1.1 million
In Uganda, more than 38% of children under the age of 5 years are stunted due to malnutrition. Vitamin A deficiency and iron deficiency anemia are major public health problems in Uganda. Researchers in Australia, Uganda, and the United States will attempt to genetically modify Ugandan bananas -- a staple food in that country -- so that they contain increased levels of pro-vitamin A, vitamin E, and iron. These essential nutrients are lacking in the diets of more than a third of Ugandan children. The country is the second largest producer of bananas in the world, and Ugandans eat an average of one kilogram of bananas each day.
Improving Cassava for Nutrition, Health, and Sustainable Development
Lead investigator: Richard T. Sayre, Ohio State University, U.S.
Grant amount: $7.5 million
Dr. Sayre’s team will attempt to genetically modify cassava, a starchy root crop that is the staple food for more than 250 million people in Africa, yet provides less than 30% of the amount of protein needed for a healthy diet, and just 10-20% of the required amounts of vitamins A and E, iron, and zinc. Cassava can also be toxic if not prepared properly, due to low levels of naturally occurring cyanide. In addition to increasing the levels of key micronutrients in cassava, researchers will modify the plant to eliminate naturally occurring cyanide and to allow it to be stored for longer periods of time.
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Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.