A series of Position Papers have been drafted by the CGIAR Generation Challenge Programme (GCP) team in collaboration with external experts. The goals are to communicate the outputs and deliverables from each research component during 2004–2014, and to explore options for enabling and ensuring that the potential benefits of these components will be fully realised in the future.
This paper focuses on the outputs and options for GCP’s genomic resources component. Outputs have been achieved through (a) collaborative work among three sets of actors: a broad network of partners in regional and country research programmes, the CGIAR and academia; and (b) capacity enhancement to assist developing-world researchers to tap into new genetic diversity and access modern breeding tools and services.
Accessing the genetic diversity found in genebank accessions or genetic stocks can be conducted efficiently through genetic studies that help identify new elite alleles for use in plant breeding. Molecular breeding, which combines genotypic and phenotypic information, has emerged as a powerful approach. It offers new perspectives for increasing the efficiency of breeding, reducing (among other things) the number of crop cycles required. Genetic studies and molecular breeding approaches both require basic genomic resources such as molecular markers, genetic maps and sequence information. These resources were not available for several GCP target crops when GCP started in 2004, especially for the less-studied crops. In Phase II, GCP is focusing on nine of the 18 original GCP crops. The nine are beans, cassava, chickpeas, cowpeas, groundnuts, maize, rice, sorghum and wheat.
GCP Management Team. White paper on GCP research components: Genomic resources. Generation Challenge Programme, Mexico (2012) 12 pp.