Cassava with improved starch

Using the famous CRISPR-Cas9 gene scissors, plant biotechnologists at ETH Zurich have been able to improve cassava. The new variety has amylose-free or 'waxy' starch, which is preferred by industry.

Cassava is genetically decaying, putting staple crop at risk

For breeders of cassava, a staple food for hundreds of millions in the tropics, producing improved varieties has been getting harder over time. A team at Cornell used genomic analysis of cassava varieties and wild relatives ...

PLOS ONE paper on cassava gene enhancement retracted

(Phys.org)—PLOS ONE, an open access peer review journal (launched in 2006) has issued a retraction regarding a paper it published recently touting the benefits of genetically enhanced cassava, saying that the results achieved ...

Shedding light on more efficient ways to breed cassava

Crop breeders are always looking for ways to improve a crop. They know that even small differences in quality and quantity can mean big differences in profits for farmers. So, making the breeding process faster and cheaper ...

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Cassava

Cassava (Manihot esculenta), also called yuca or manioc, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge family) native to South America, is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates. It differs from the similarly-spelled yucca, an unrelated fruit-bearing plant.

Cassava is the third largest source of food carbohydrates in the world. Nigeria is the world's largest producer of cassava. It is classified as sweet or bitter, depending on the level of toxic cyanogenic glucosides. (However, bitter taste is not always a reliable measure.) Improper preparation of cassava can leave enough residual cyanide to cause acute cyanide intoxication and goiters, and has been linked to ataxia or partial paralysis. Nevertheless, farmers often prefer the bitter varieties because they deter pests, animals, and thieves. In some locations the more toxic varieties serve as a fall-back resource (a "food security crop") in times of famine.

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