Trainings: Capacity building in western Africa on modern genetic tools

Participants of the GBS training course. Photo: A Kalilou Issa, ICRISAT

Participants of the GBS training course. Photo: A Kalilou Issa, ICRISAT

The recently held training workshop on the use of modern genomic tools for breeding research and applied breeding, addressed two aspects: the use of Genotyping-by-Sequencing (GBS) in research projects and the use of converting single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) into single marker assays and how they could be used in applied breeding.

The GBS training was given by Dr Jason Wallace, Assistant Professor, University of Georgia, USA, while the single marker training was given by Dr Willmar Leiser, University of Hohenheim, Germany. Both trainings complemented each other and showed the whole process of data creation and final use in breeding. In the GBS workshop, Dr Wallace showed participants how GBS works, its use in ongoing projects and parameters that need to be considered when choosing GBS as genotyping method. He further gave an applied session on how to use GBS data in the software TASSEL 5, how to conduct basic population genetics and genome wide association mapping. At the end of the GBS workshop, the participants conducted a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) and found significant SNPs in a sample data set.

The second part of the workshop by Dr Leiser included training on how to finally find the identified SNPs in the respective genome, retrieve sequences, convert the target SNPs into Kompetitive allele-specific PCR (KASP) markers and finally use these markers in breeding programs. Dr Leiser explained the several different marker systems for SNP detection and went into the process of data retrieval from reference genomes using TASSEL 5 and other software. This step was directly related to the session by Dr Wallace. Finally, the participants learned how to submit genotyping projects to LGC Genomics through the Integrated Breeding Platform and how to handle the whole process from plant tissue sampling and sending all documents to LGC Genomics. The trainings will help the breeding community in western Africa to use modern molecular marker technologies in their research projects and in their daily breeding programs.

ICRISAT-Niger hosted the training workshop during 21-22 April which had 21 participants from different NARS partners, ICRISAT-Mali and ICRISAT-Nigeria, as well as young researchers from the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), Ghana.

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