Only 20 years ago, the idea that maize could reduce vitamin A deficiency (VAD) would have been summarily dismissed. Agricultural scientists were focused on increasing yields and developing more robust varieties that could withstand the constant assault of new pests and diseases. The idea of making maize and other staple food crops more nutritious by breeding in vitamins and minerals, a process called biofortification, was a novel concept. However, with the launch of HarvestPlus in 2003, a collaborative research partnership was launched to bring together scientists across disciplines in an effort to reduce hidden hunger caused by micronutrient deficiencies. One of the fruits of this partnership were the world’s first “orange” maize varieties rich in vitamin A. This ‘orange’ vitamin A maize has been conventionally bred to provide higher levels of provitamin A carotenoids, a naturally occurring plant pigment also found in many orange foods such as mangoes, carrots and pumpkins, that the body then converts into vitamin A.
Posts Tagged ‘HarvestPlus’
The successful candidate will be part of the HarvestPlus project team and assist in the development, testing and dissemination of maize germplasm with enhanced levels of pro-vitamin A and zinc to partners. In addition, she/he will help identify sources of novel alleles associated with enhanced concentrations of pro-vitamin A from adapted and introduced maize germplasm and utilize molecular markers to introduce the alleles into maize germplasm with different genetic backgrounds and adaptive traits.
Closing Date: The position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.