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African researchers to benefit from crop disease training

The UK-based Connected Virus Network and International Livestock Research Institute (BecA – ILRI) Hub organised a five-day course on ‘An introduction to virus and vector diagnostics’ in Nairobi at BecA-ILRI Hub in March 2019

Around 350 researchers in African countries are expected to benefit from the crop disease training workshop.

A number of 19 delegates from 10 countries such as Benin, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia participated in the training course.

Jacob Mignouna, director of BecA-ILRI Hub, said, “The training workshop had scientists coming from all over the continent to learn new technologies and new methods of virus detection.”

Neil Boonham, co-director at Connected Network, commented, “Vector-borne plant diseases contribute to food insecurity, hunger, and limited economic development. Tackling these diseases is the Connected Network’s mission and, if we are to succeed, scientists in Africa need to be able to detect the viruses and identify the insects that carry and spread the viruses that are responsible.”

Neil Boonham, co-director at Connected Network, shared teaching duties during the week with Dr Goncalo Ramalho E Silva, from The Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, the UK. The course content included:

· DNA barcoding sample preparation - DNA extractions on insects

· Polymerase chain reaction

· Electrophoresis and purification of DNA for sequencing

· DNA sequence analysis - clustering, database searching

· Isothermal amplification techniques - LAMP and RPA