What is it about?

The high cyanogenic glucosides content in some cassava varieties prevents herbivory but can be toxic for human consumption. Identification of an intracellular transporter gene and its allelic variation allow to point out cultivars with up to 30 percent decrease in cassava root cyanogenic glucosides content.

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Why is it important?

The high dietary cyanogen consumption from insufficiently processed roots of bitter cassava combined with a protein-deficient diet leads to a neglected disease known as konzo. This study seeks to understand the genetic mechanism of hydrogen cyanide or HCN (representing total cyanogenic glucosides) content regulation in cassava root and the identification of closely linked SNP markers to enhance efficiency and cost effectiveness through marker assisted selection in cassava breeding.


The developed fast and cost effective molecular diagnostic toolkit (for breeding purposes to increase selection efficiency) will further provide the platform for breeding and introduction of low HCN cassava varieties that are high yielding and disease resistant to regions often affected by agricultural and health related crisis such as konzo, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

Alex Ogbonna
Cornell University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Large‐scale genome‐wide association study, using historical data, identifies conserved genetic architecture of cyanogenic glucoside content in cassava ( Manihot esculenta Crantz) root, The Plant Journal, December 2020, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/tpj.15071.
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