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Collection and characterization of sweet potato germplasm cultivated in Togo and Senegal

Project Complete

Culture amelioration is one of the major worry of the research to combat millennium challenge (climate change, food security, growth population and other damages). In this context, creation and selection new varieties with a lot of characteristics such as: good productivity, disease resistant, high nutrition values, large adaptabilities capacities, are very important (Lebot, 2013). Sweet potato as some others root and tubers plant are multiplied vegetatively. The sexual reproduction with allele recombination is absent. The capacity of adaptation is week compare to sexual reproduction plant with genes recombination. Germplasms conservation appears important for further action towards improving the culture (Lebot, 2007). Collection, characterization and conservation will be the first action to be done before any others activities leading to the plant improvement.


In Africa, particular in West Africa, sweet potato gain popularities and its richness in vitamin A made it attractive (Bowell-Benjamin, 2007). Despite all these attributes, the culture of sweet potato has biotic and abiotic constraint witch limit it expansion. These constraints lead often on genetic erosion. For root and tubers as sweet potato with vegetative propagation, genetic erosion appears quickly. It is also known that the lost of the genetic diversity is lost of adaptatif potential. Face on this situation it appear urgent to give answer to three important questions such as: what is the degree of genetic diversity of the plant on the area? how farmers manage this diversity? What is the climate influence the genetic structuration of the diversity?

The objective:

  • The overall objective of the work is to contribute to genetic amelioration of sweet potato in West Africa on the basis of the studies of two countries: Togo and Senegal.
  • specifically the proposal will
  • Study agro-morphological characterization of sweet potato
  • Determine de genetic characterization of the plant using SSRs markers
  • Identify farmer’s manage of the plant
  • Determine dynamic evolution of the plant

The project was implemented in Togo and Senegal.

Dr  GLATO  Kodjo

01BP:  1515  LOME

Tel: 00228 90743405

Key Project Information

 Activity 1: Ethnobotanic survey and germplasm collection.

First the countries will be divided according to ethnic group and its implication on the sweet potato culture. Participatory research appraisal tools and techniques (focus group, direct observation, field visit, individual questions, used of questionnaires etc). Information collected will be related to agriculture practices, the landrace cultivated (diversity, origin, naming, etc) and the tubers management. All sweet potato germplasm found will be collected for phenotype and molecular characterization. The collection will be done to maximize the variability observed in each village (Lebot, 2003).

Activity 2: Phenotyping

The field trial will be done in the experimental Agronomic station of University of Lome (altitude 27m; E06°10’27.2’’/N001°12’ 39.6’’). The space between plants and between rows will be 1 m. We will record morphological characteristic of leaf and stem 90 days after planting. A total of 21 morphological descriptors (Bioversity International and CIP sweet potato descriptors, 2010), will be used for agro-morphological characteristic of three organs: leaf, stem, and root. As roots are the idle part of the plant, it will be collected at maturity. Maturity will be determined when the vine turn yellow, roughly 5 months after plantation.

Activity 3: Genotyping

All sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) individual plants will be genotyped. Young leaves will be collected during the field experimental. DNA extraction will be used according to the method of Doyle and Doyle (1987). Twelve pair of microsatellites (SSRs) previously designed for sweet potato (Roullier et al., 2011) will be used. Allele score will be done with Genemapper software


Project Leader: Dr  GLATO  Kodjo

Project Members: Ndjido Ardo Kane (Senegal),  AIDAM Atsou Vincent (Togo) , Adeline Barnaud (France), Yves vigouroux (France) , Bassirou Diallo (Senegal)

Start date February 22, 2024
End date
Lead organization University of Lome, laboratory of plant physiology and biotechnology
Collaborating organizations National Institut of Agriculture research of Senegal (ISRA)
Region West Africa
Countries Togo, Senegal
Type of project Research
Financing Sources UEMOA (West Africa Monetary Union), ARCAD fund, France Ambassy of Togo
Funding Amount (USD) $25,000


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