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Here's an interesting case of advanced genetic technology being used to benefit poor farmers. Today's post on Nourishing the Planet tells us that International Crops Research for the Semi-Arid Tropics and its partners have mapped the genome for the pigeonpea.

I'd never heard of the pigeonpea until, seriously, yesterday. I was working on a report for a project of ours in Guatemala, and there it was, "pigeonpea seeds," listed as one of the resources provided as part of the project. Pigeonpeas are an important source of protein and amino acids in many dry, hot parts of the world. It is also used as livestock fodder and for other non-food purposes (weaving with the stalks, for example).

Now that they've mapped the genome, they'll be able to identify desirable qualities (like disease and drought resistance) and do selective breeding to improve yields and, therefore, lives.

And don't worry, we're talking old-school Gregor Mendel stuff, not GMOs.

Head over to Nourishing the Planet to watch the video for the full story.

Author

Brooke Edwards

Brooke Edwards is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and started working at Heifer International in 2009 as a writer. She has a master's in social work and a bachelor's degree in psychology. She is married, a mother of two, and a wannabe urban farmer, raising her own chickens and killing most of her vegetable crops.