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Emmanuel Frank Mrema

Emmanuel Frank Mrema is a Tanzanian employed by Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI). He works in Root and Tuber Crops programme specifically in breeding. He graduated with a MSc in Plant Breeding and Seed Systems at Makerere University and BSc Agriculture at Sokoine University of Agriculture in 2016 and 2011 respectively. He enrolled in 2019 as a student at West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), University of Ghana pursuing a PhD in Plant Breeding.  His research focus is on deployment of genomic tools for resistance to cassava brown streak disease (CBSD). Cassava brown streak disease is currently the key obstacle to optimal cassava production in east, central and southern part of Africa where it is causing significant yield loses. Efforts have been made to develop resistant clones to CBSD with little success, probably due to narrow genetic base found in Africa which presents only a fraction of the total gene pool found in Latin America where the crop originated.  His work involves identification of novel genomic regions associated with resistance to CBSD. The study will include cassava germplasm from Latin America, Tanzania and International Institute of tropical Agriculture (IITA). He will further develop functional PCR based SNP markers for effective screening of resistant genotypes to CBSD regardless of the genetic background of the material. Furthermore, he will introgress identified CBSD resistant genes into susceptible farmers preferred cassava varieties which are resistant to cassava mosaic disease (CMD). Cassava is the second most important crop grown in Africa for food security but also as the source of income to small holder farmers. The crop has been projected to be a future crop for Africa due to its increasing demand for industrial application and its ability to withstand climate conditions. As such, he is dedicated to generating information that will guide on CBSD breeding.