A new study gives insights on Napier (elephant) grass, a fast-growing tropical grass

ILRI news

Martha Anyango of Homabay County in her plot of improved napier grass (Ouma variety) planted in Tumbukiza holes (photo credit: AVCD/ FIPS R. Jumah)

Napier grass, which is also known as elephant grass, is one of the most important fodder crops grown across the global tropics. This grass is the main livestock feed resource for the majority of the more than one million small-scale dairy farmers in East Africa. Its popularity is based on its ease of establishment, high productivity, ability to regenerate after regular harvesting, good quality and year-round availability. 

Not much was known about the genetics underlying the rapid growth of Napier grass until recently, when a team of scientists from China and East Africa used DNA sequencing to assemble its genome. Their study findings are published in the journal Molecular Ecology Resources (11 October 2020).

Using a combination of short-read sequencing, single-molecule long-read sequencing and Hi-C chromosome conformation…

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