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Current Status and Future Direction for Research on Agricultural Biotechnology in Ghana

Biotechnology and related fields of science have over the years been used extensively to revolutionize agriculture and crop production. Although Genetic Engineering (GE)  technology has rapidly progressed worldwide and several initiatives on the broadening of biotechnology research and outreach exist in Africa, GE is yet to be applied in crop improvement in Ghana and as a result GE crops are not under cultivation with the exception of approval for transgenic high protein sweetpotato under confined field trials. The worldwide exposure to biotechnology has led to a myriad of institutions in Ghana to develop applied research and training in modern agricultural biotechnology with the aim of improving crop yields and quality. This chapter provides a brief description of current and emerging uses of biotechnology in sweetpotato engineered with high essential amino acids and enhanced protein levels. Attempts to improve protein content of yam (Dioscorea rotundata), an important staple in Ghana by GE are also described. A protocol for yam organogenesis and regeneration, minimum inhibitory concentration of antibiotic level in the selection media following co-cultivation, and Agrobacterium- mediated transformation are discussed. This successful transient transformation and regeneration protocols could be adopted in GE the crop for enhanced protein content of selected root crops. Several programs have been initiated in Ghana to build national capacity in modern biotechnology with respect to human resource and infrastructure development that include establishment of the National Biosafety Committees and its Institutional/technical subcommittees and the National Biosafety framework. A brief survey on the current status and future requirements for biotechnology in Ghana was conducted in 2012 involving farmers, regulators, researchers and lecturers in the field of biotechnology and related areas in Ghana. It is evident that biotechnology can be meaning fully integrated into the existing crop improvement programs. It is apparent that GE crops can have a dramatic impact on the development of Ghana by enhancing its food production and ensuring its nutritional requirements and economic growth, thus attaining food security.

HOW TO CITE

QUAIN Marian D., and M. Egnin (2014), Current Status and Future Direction for Research on Agricultural Biotechnology in Ghana. Genetically Engineered Crops in Developing Countries
Eds.: DVR Reddy, P Ananda Kumar, P Lava Kumar, G Loebenstein &
C Kameswara Rao. Studium Press LLC, Houston, USA. 2014;pp. 377‐397