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Genetic resources conservation of sorghum landraces in Northwestern Africa

Yao DJE researcher laureate

°1968 Ivory Coast
Master in Physiology (genetics), Université d'Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 1993

Conservation des ressources génétiques des races locales de sorgho en Afrique du Nord occidentale

This work is about the genetical diversity of sorghum, one of the most important cereals of the semi-arid tropical regions, in particular in the Sahel region. The originality of the approach lies in a profound analysis of the genetic structure of traditional Northwestern Moroccan sorghum landraces. Besides the classical morphological traits, Dr. Yao Dje used the most modern enzymatic and molecular markers which allow to evaluate genetic differentiation between plantpopulations with a high resolution.
The author also compared variability levels between sorghum introduced in Morocco from the worldwide germplasm collection and landraces cultivated in Moroccan fields. His results clearly confirm the crucial importance of in situ sampling as a method for the conservation of traditional varieties, which represent an important genetic source for the creation of new, more resistant, and more productive varieties.
As the research topic relates directly to the breeding and selection of a cereal which is the staple food for the people living in the Sahel region, the work contributes to the fight against malnutrition which is still affecting people in the developing world. Moreover, the methodology applied can be extended to other crops and thus contributes significantly to the protection of the genetic heritage of Africa.

Report by Prof. Dr. Michel Jacobs, Laboratory for plant genetics, Institute for molecular biology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium