Improving Cassava for Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Development
Poor nutrition is a major global health problem, contributing to half of the nearly 10 million deaths that occur each year in children younger than 5 and much of the death disease and suffering impacting sub-Saharan Africa. A starchy root crop called cassava is the major source of calories for more than 250 million Africans in this region, but cassava has the lowest protein-to-energy ratio of any staple crop. Dr. Sayre is leading a multidisciplinary team of scientists, brought together as BioCassava Plus, that is working to create nutritious cassava for sub-Saharan Africa. Team members are screening additional transgenic plants and expect that complimentary genetic strategies currently underway will soon yield plants that achieve their targeted levels of iron, zinc, and protein.