July-September 2018 Newsletter
Chiedozi Egesi (R) with IITA cassava breeder Edward Kanju in Sendusu, Uganda. Kanju is responsible for developing the foundational brown streak resistant cassava varieties grown by east and southern African researchers and farmers. Photo by Chiedozie Egesi.

Dear NextGen Cassava community,
Greetings all, and welcome to year two of the NextGen Cassava newsletter! We are so happy to have this medium to share our activities, interests and successes with you.

In this issue, we highlight a very important partner in our work: the Boyce Thompson Institute, located in Ithaca, NY. Scientists and programmers at this institute are responsible for creating and maintaining our digital data and tool kit platform for cassava breeders, called Cassavabase . This incredible tool is not only essential to the work we do: it is a perfect example of our commitment to collaboration and open access, two of our core project values. Cassavabase is available to anyone who would like to share their data, or benefit from the data and tools developed by the team. You can read more about BTI below, and how the Cassavabase team works closely with technicians and breeders across our partner institutes.

N extGen 's activities also expand beyond our project partners We aim to share the discoveries and technologies we have made and developed with national breeding programs throughout the region, enabling them to envision and take steps toward similar effective breeding organization. Here you will find a report on a recent trip I made to Sierra Leone and Ghana, the first in what I hope will be many visits to other breeding programs in sub-Saharan Africa, as part of our efforts to promote a community of practice partnership (CoPP). 

We are kicking off our capacity building plans for Phase 2 within the project as well, as new students supported by NextGen enroll in master's and doctorate programs at Cornell University, Makerere University, and the WACCI program at the University of Ghana. We're so excited to be contributing to the future of African cassava breeders and plant scientists!

Thank you, once again, for your support. We warmly wish you all the best, until we see you again in December.

Chiedozie Egesi 
NextGen Project Manager  
Alex Ogbonna, Guillaume Bauchet, Racheal Mukisa, and Bryan Ellerbrock at a workshop during the 2017 NextGen annual meeting in Nigeria. Experience from fieldwork at partner institutions is critical to ensuring Cassavabase serves the needs of cassava breeders.
What does it take to create and maintain an open-access genomic database? This is the question that faced the Boyce Thompson Institute, which has been a part of the Next Generation Cassava Breeding project since its inception. Over the years, BTI has developed and supported Cassavabase, an open-access online repository for information from cassava breeding trials. More importantly, it has also worked to build capacity in database management and development for NextGen Cassava's African partners.
Chiedozie Egesi (center) delivers a presentation at the Njala Agricultural Research Center in Sierra Leone. Photo provided.
From 2-5 July, 2018, members from the NextGen Cassava team visited Sierra Leone to integrate the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI) into NextGen Cassava under the Community of Practice (CoP). This was followed by a visit to Ghana from 6-7 July 2018.
The team visited several sites to discuss project activities and possible solutions, interventions and entering points to positively contribute to the cassava breeding programs in the country. All team members expressed hope for fruitful collaboration in the future.

Read more about the visit to Sierra Leone and Ghana on the NextGen Cassava Blog.
Richard Edema (Centre Yellow Shirt) with CAES and MaRCCI staff pose for a group photo with Cohort VI students during the orientation ceremony on 10th September 2018, MUARIK, CAES, Makerere University, Wakiso Uganda. Photo provided.
This September, the  Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) welcomed its Cohort VI students under the Regional Centre for Crop Improvement (MaRCCI) Program. More than  40 MSc. Plant Breeding and Seed Systems and PhD Plant Breeding students admitted from across the continent attended the three-day orientation on the Makerere University campus. The program aims to deliver secure and sustainable food supply and agricultural income for Africa by enabling the development of improved varieties of food crops.

The following students of the incoming cohort are supported by the NextGen Cassava project:

MSc (Plant Breeding & Seed Systems)
Chukwuka Ano (Nigeria)
Francisca Bura Gwand u (Tanzania)
Manze Francis (Uganda)
PhD (Plant Breeding & Biotechnology)
Karoline Leonard Sichalwe (Tanzania) 
Mikidadi Abubakar (Tanzania) 

Partner Spotlight: Boyce Thompson Institute
Guillaume Bauchet (2nd from left) guides workshop participants through a field exercise during the 2017 NextGen Cassava annual meeting. Photo by Bryan Ellerbrock.
The Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) based in Ithaca, New York, is one of the founding partners of the NextGen Cassava project. Researchers at BTI code and maintain  Cassavabase, an open-access database where cassava breeders can upload the genetic and phenotypic data from their field trials and access data from other breeders around the world.

We interviewed Guillaume Bauchet and Lukas Mueller of BTI to learn more about the institute, their work, and how they fit into the NextGen Cassava project.

Cassava Research Highlights
Genome-Wide Association Study of Resistance to Cassava Green Mite Pest and Related Traits in Cassava

Cassava Trait Preferences of Men and Women Farmers in Nigeria: Implications for Breeding
Upcoming Events & Opportunities
Postdoctoral Fellow, Cassava Breeder - International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)  (Ibadan, Nigeria)

Postdoctoral Fellow, Cassava Molecular Breeder - International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)  (Ibadan, Nigeria)

Communication and Capacity Development Officer - International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)  (Abuja, Nigeria)
Contribute to the NextGen Newsletter
Contact newsletter editor Samantha Hautea or respond to this email to submit items for the next issue of the NextGen newsletter.
Follow us on social media for more NextGen Cassava content:

Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   

The Next Generation Cassava Breeding project is led by International Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, in collaboration with International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and National Root Crops Research Institute breeding centers in Nigeria, National Crops Resources Research Institute in Uganda,
Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute , West African Centre for Crop Improvement in Ghana, Makerere University in Uganda, and the Boyce Thompson Institute and US Department of Agricultural Research Services in the United States. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UK aid from the UK government.