Sweet Potato Sequencing Effort Aims to Improve Food Security

Dr. Bode Olukolu

Craig Yencho and Bode Olukolu Win 2017 Agricultural Greater Good Initiative Grant

Since 2011, the Agricultural Greater Good Initiative has awarded grants of Illumina products to researchers using Illumina technology to tackle diverse genomics-oriented projects aimed at alleviating global hunger, malnutrition, and poverty in the developing world. Supported research projects have spanned the globe and the spectrum of scientific discovery improving studies of agriculturally important plants and animals that are commonly consumed by food insecure populations.

This week at the Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego, Illumina awarded researchers at North Carolina State University the 2017 award for their project to develop a high quality de novo whole genome assembly and a SNP array for the hexaploid sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas).  G. Craig Yencho, PhD, Professor in the Department of Horticultural Science and Bode Olukolu, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, will use the grant to develop and validate SNPs for an SNP array that represents sweet potato global diversity.

“We are proud to continue to offer this award as a way to propel research that has such rich potential to address malnutrition and hunger in so many different parts of the world,” said Ryan Rapp, PhD, Associate Director of Agrigenomics at Illumina. “The hundreds of applications we received for the Agricultural Greater Good Initiative award were a testament to the importance of genomics in addressing global food needs.”