Sustainable Conservation and Utilization of Genetic Resources of two underutilized Crops Finger Millet and Foxtail Millet – to Enhance Productivity, Nutrition and Income in Africa and Asia

Published on 20 April 2011

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Start Date: 1 January 2008 | End Date: 31 December 2011


The project is aimed to enhance food security and reduce malnutrition in Africa and Asia through more efficient conservation and use of two currently underutilized species with high nutrient value and excellent adaptability: finger millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.) and foxtail millet (Setaria italica (L.) Beauv). The access of partner National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) to diverse finger and foxtail millet germplasm will be enhanced through development and joint evaluation of core and mini core collections. These collections will be characterized for agronomic characters, nutrient contents (protein, iron, zinc, calcium, and ß-carotene), and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Genotyping with micro-satellite markers will serve to determine population structure and genetic diversity at the DNA level. Combination of marker and phenotypic data will lead to identification of genetically diverse, trait specific germplasm for targeted use in breeding programs, genetic studies, and for direct cultivation by farmers. En­hanced cultivation by farmers of the superior and diverse finger and foxtail millet germplasm will increase productivity, availability of nutritional rich food, and marketing opportunities, and contribute to in-situ conservation of the two species. The NARS’ capacity to breed these high-value minor millets, to use genetic resources in breeding and to employ new molecular tools will be strengthened.

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