Visiting Scientists from West Africa
Posted: September 13, 2013
Left to Right: Abu Dadzie, Lena Shaeaffer, Desire Pokou and Grace Garbini, discussing the isolation of three genes from cacao potentially involved in disease resistance.
With support form the National Science Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we are honored to host the visits of two outstanding cacao scientists from West Africa. Desire Pokou (Ivory Coast) and Abu Dadzie (Ghana) are both cacao breeders and involved in using the new tools of molecular markers to help accelerate breeding programs. While at Penn State (for two months each) they will work closely with members of the Guiltinan lab to participate in our research on functional analysis of disease resistance genes. Seen here working with Lena (Staff Research Assistant) and Grace (undergraduate researcher), theya re in the process of designing DNA primers to isolate three genes potentially involved in Phytophthora resistance using a PCR method. They will then test the function of these genes using a new functional assay developed in our lab. The ultimate goal will be to identify key resistance genes, then to design molecular markers that can be used in their breeding programs to help identify new disease resistant cacao varieties. We are really excited to make new friends and collaborators from West Africa.