NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - The University of California, Riverside, has received a $1.7 million grant from the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research to use genomics tools and techniques to develop cowpea cultivars that may improve crop yields, UCR said yesterday.
UCR researchers will perform genomics-based studies on the school’s collection of more than 5,000 international cowpea varieties in hopes of developing cultivars that are tolerant to drought and have improved resistance to pests and diseases.
“Our project will develop the key genomic resources that are currently lacking in cowpea,” said Timothy Close, a professor of genetics and a co-principal investigator of the grant, who will lead the research. “We will use modern plant breeding approaches that employ new and efficient molecular marker development methodologies.”
The three-year grant was awarded under the CGIAR’s Generation Challenge Program.
Cowpea is a protein-rich legume crop that complements starchy staple crops such as corn, cassava, sorghum, and millets in the diets of millions of Africans, according to UCR.