Cancel
Advanced Search
KEYWORDS
CATEGORY
AUTHOR
MONTH

Please click here to take a brief survey

Scientists Collect Yam Samples to Preserve Critical African Crop

Crop scientists are attempting to collect and catalog more than 3,000 yam samples for international gene banks to preserve the biodiversity of a food crop that is consumed daily by more than 60 million people in Africa alone. Yam varieties collected in West and Central Africa will be sent to the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture in Nigeria, where the samples will be frozen in liquid nitrogen for long-term storage. While many crops can be conserved by drying the seeds, yams must be conserved as vegetative material in tissue culture. A large percentage of important yam varieties are currently preserved only in fields, where they are threatened by disease, pests, natural disaster, and civil conflicts. The nations in Africa’s so-called “yam belt” — including Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo — produce more than 90 percent of the world’s yams. “This opportunity to protect an incredibly wide variety of yams allows us to feel more reassured that the unique diversity of yam will be safely secured and available to future generations,” said Alexandre Dansi, a researcher at the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin who has helped catalog about 250 discrete types of yams and more than 1,000 yam varieties.


Women selling yam tubers with banana in the background in a local market in Nigeria. (via IITA)

This post originally appeared on e360 digest.

Bookmark and Share


Comments

For North American readers you might have pointed out that in Africa a "yam" (Dioscorea ) is something completely different from what we call a "yam" here (the "sweet potato" Ipomoea, which of course isn't a potato, either). The picture could have made this clear, but what U.S. consumer of sweet potatoes has ever seen them outside of a can?


Posted by: Doc on 20 Sep 10

A very good idea. We shall monitor developments on this as they unfold.


Posted by: Dr. Uzodinma Adirieje on 6 Oct 10

Post A Comment

Please note that comments will remain open for only 14 days after the article is posted. While previous comments will remain visible, attempts to post new comments after this period will fail. This helps stop comment spam, so your forebearance is appreciated.

The Worldchanging comments are meant to be used for further exploration and evaluation of the ideas covered in our posts. Please note that, while constructive disagreement is fine, insults and abuse are not, and will result in the comment being deleted and a likely ban from commenting. We will also delete at will and without warning comments we believe are designed to disrupt a conversation rather than contribute to it. In short, we'll kill troll posts.

Finally, please note that comments which simply repost copyrighted works or commercial messages will be summarily deleted.

REMEMBER PERSONAL INFO?
Yes No

NAME


EMAIL ADDRESS


URL


COMMENTS



EMAIL THIS ENTRY TO:

YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS:


MESSAGE (optional):


Search Worldchanging

Worldchanging Newsletter Get good news for a change —
Click here to sign up!


Worldchanging2.0


Website Design by Eben Design | Logo Design by Egg Hosting | Hosted by Amazon AWS | Problems with the site? Send email to tech /at/ worldchanging.com
©2012
Architecture for Humanity - all rights reserved except where otherwise indicated.

Find_us_on_facebook_badge.gif twitter-logo.jpg