When he was finishing up his PhD in Plant Biotechnology at the University of Bath, he became aware of a multi-institutional project on cassava. “Cassava is an incredibly important crop for people in the developing world, but like many people in the industrialized North, I wasn’t that familiar with it.” Cassava was considered recalcitrant—it was difficult to work with and improve. Even though it was a major staple crop, it was only barely domesticated. And because it was so difficult, it was largely ignored, a so-called orphan crop. “Only a handful of labs were working on it, and then I made a breakthrough with cassava tissue culture transformation. Suddenly, we could work on it more easily, and I received a Rockefeller grant to go to Scripps [Research Institute] where I met Roger Beachy.” When Beachy came to St. Louis to be the first president of the Danforth Center, Nigel came with him. Today, the Taylor laboratory is part of VIRCA Plus, a multi-institutional project working to improve resistance to viruses that cause cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) and to increase levels of iron and zinc in the storage roots, the edible part of the plant. VIRCA Plus collaborates with research scientists, regulatory experts and communication specialists with the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and Rwanda.
New research led by Rebecca Bart and Nigel Taylor and their collaborators at ETH Zurich, University of California Los Angeles, and the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) in Uganda, have identified a genetic mutation that confers resistance to cassava mosaic disease.
13-Jul-2022 10:00:48 AM EDT
For the first time, an international team of scientists have developed cassava displaying high-level resistance to cassava mosaic disease (CMD), cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) as well as higher levels of iron and zinc.
16-Feb-2021 10:00:32 AM EST
"The suite of technologies DuPont Pioneer is providing to the project is revolutionary," said Nigel Taylor, Ph.D., associate member and Dorothy J. King Distinguished Investigator, Danforth Center. "Adapting it to cassava and other food security crops such as teff, sorghum and millets provides exciting new possibilities for enhancing food security, nutrition and economic stability for smallholder farmers and their families."