1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
To promote international research collaborations and activities for increased global food security and economic growth. Provide sound technical advice and support to USAID's international agricultural research and development initiatives.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
ARS staff will work to oversee USAID activities in agricultural biothechnology, agricultural development, food aid safety. Project oversight, technical assessments, project evaluations, research project design and planning will be conducted. Agreement-generated collaborative research funds and dedicated project funds will be utilized to engage strategic partners at appropriate public and private research organizations.
3. Progress Report:
ARS continued the second year of implementation of research under the Norman Borlaug Commemorative Research Initiative (NBCRI) in support of Feed the Future (http://www.ars.usda.gov/Research/docs.htm?docid=22832): 1) Grain Legume Productivity: ARS assembled a diverse set of 428 accessions representing large-seeded dry beans of Andean gene pool origin from across the world, into the Andean Diversity Panel (ADP). This ADP has become an important resource for the international bean researchers as it provides a relevant set of germplasm for studying multiple traits of critical importance globally. A second ADP (ADP-2) was formed from an informative subset of accessions from ADP-1 and includes more traditional checks for various traits from across gene pools (Andean and Middle American) and species (tepary ). Informative genotypes include those observed to represent the most resistant and most susceptible lines to diseases, pests, drought, and other traits. Field trials were carried out in Honduras, Mozambique, Tanzania, Puerto Rico, South Africa, and the USA. 2. East Coast fever vaccine: ARS, GALV Med and ILRI organized a project planning meeting during the first year. A consortium was formed including the CTTBD – South Africa, GALVmed, ILRI, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Antwerp and ARS-ADRU. A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) was established with Pfizer Animal Health for the transfer of proprietary adjuvants to support these studies. ARS-ADRU and Washington State University (WSU) are focusing on the memory component (CD4+ lymphocytes) which is necessary to support cytotoxic T-lymphocyte killying of T. parva infected cells. A University of Maryland researcher was engaged to analyze RNA sequence data derived from ILRI provided T. parva RNA, which provide gene activity in the T. parva schizont, an important component of vaccine candidate discovery. Viral vector platforms containing ECF vaccine candidates were constructed. The ILRI collaborator identified a new viral vectored system for East Coast Fever vaccine testing. Collaborators continue to assess how to ensure access to appropriate cattle. 3. African Goat Improvement Network (AGIN): Collaborators ARS, ILRI, ASARECA and other key partners met and revised objectives based on field trip observations and input from African partners, established new partnerships in African goat genetics and genomics, and initiated planning on genome assembly and population sampling. Samples from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Cameroon, and South Africa have been collected (650 samples). Additional sampling in Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe is underway with some partners or will be initiated soon with ASARECA collaboration. Genotyping using the Illumina 60K SNP chip is one-third completed, but genetic analyses is still underway to determine if Illumina’s Caprine53K SNP DNA assay needs to be amended to better characterize African goats. This project has joined forces with two other EU consortia to form the Adaptmap project, which aligns three goat genomics projects under one common goal - to understand diversity in goats for increased food production.