Contact Us  |  Search  
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research
Development, Security, and Cooperation
Policy and Global Affairs
Home About Us For Applicants For Grant Recipients Funded Projects Email Updates

Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER)
Cycle 4 (2015 Deadline)

Development of high yielding aflatoxin resistant maize hybrids for improved nutrition and health in Ghana

PI: Allen Oppong (, CSIR-Crops Research Institute
U.S. Partner: Marilyn Warburton, USDA ARS Corn Host Plant Resistance Research Unit
Project Dates: October 2015 - September 2018

Project Overview

Dr. Oppong and his team will apply SSR and SNP aflatoxin-resistant markers to help speed up the development of aflatoxin-resistant maize for Ghana. The incorporation of aflatoxin resistant genes into local elite inbred lines for the production of high yielding hybrids will not only improve maize availability in Ghana but will also improve the nutrition and health of Ghanaians. The process of developing aflatoxin-resistant maize will enhance the skills of Ghanaian scientists in using marker-assisted selection/breeding to hasten maize breeding activities in Ghana, and these modern techniques can also be utilized in other breeding activities for improved biotic stress resistance in Ghana and beyond. Currently, the use of marker-assisted breeding is at the initial stages in Ghana, and using aflatoxin-resistant markers will reduce considerably the time needed to breed for high yielding aflatoxin-resistant maize in Ghana.

 Maize field
 Maize field (photo courtesy of Dr. Oppong)

First of all the development of aflatoxin-resistant maize will not only impact positively on the nutrition of Ghanaians but also will have a tremendous impact on health of mothers, children, poultry, and livestock. Improving maize yields can substantially raise farmers’ income and livelihoods. It will also provide raw material for the poultry industry to increase poultry production and consequently address protein needs of Ghanaians.

Currently, Ghana is not self sufficient in poultry, partly due to the high cost of maize used in poultry feed. Consumption of aflatoxin-contaminated maize also has detrimental effects on unborn babies, child health, child development, and survival. Developing aflatoxin resistant maize will address these challenges thereby enhancing the overall well-being of Ghanaians. In addition, the acquisition of equipment to support marker-assisted selection will improve the technical infrastructure at the Crops Research Institute.

The improved human resource capacity that the project will produce can also deployed to address other stress breeding challenges 

Summary of Recent Activities

During the quarter ending December 2017, a training workshop was organized for Breeders and other Scientists, graduate students and technicians from CSIR-Crops Research Institute, Graduate students from KNUST faculty of Agriculture and graduate students and lecturer from the West African center for Crop Improvement (WACCI) University of Ghana, Legon on modern techniques for developing aflatoxin resistant maize as well as detection and quantification of aflatoxins in Maize. This was towards the realization of objectives to train
Breeders and other Scientists moderns techniques like the use of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers to breed for resistant varieties using the KASP assay. Participants were also taught how to use the VICAM aflatoxin set up to detect and quantify aflatoxins in maize.

USG project partner Dr. Marilyn Warburton delivered lectures on theory behind marker assisted selection with particular emphasis on how to use markers to develop aflatoxin resistant maize. Dr. Warburton spent one week with the team to first train Scientists
directly involved with the project for two days and also trained them on how to ascertain the progress made with the overall project implementation and then actual preparations for the three day training workshop. The training with the larger group of participants lasted for 3 days. (11-13th Ocober, 2017).

Field agronomic activities continued during the period with the collection data from the field and artificial pollination of crossing blocks. laboratory detection and quantification of aflatoxin levels in harvested grains using the project provided aflatoxin detection and quantification set also began during the quarter.

In the coming quarter and the next harvesting of fields planted in minor season will be done and post harvest data collected. Aflatoxin detection and quantification in promising hybrids and parents will be determined. Genotypes that combine low levels of aflatoxin contamination and high yields with good agronomic traits will be selected. These selected genotypes will be genotyped to confirm if they have aflatoxin resistant genes. Seed multiplication of parents of hybrids with high yields and also possess genes resistant to
aflatoxin accumulation will done. Backcrossing for the introgression aflatoxin resistant genes into elite bocal inbreds will also continue

Back to PEER Cycle 4 Grant Recipients