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Joint linkage QTL mapping for agronomic traits and cooking quality in a composite map of two Bambara groundnut RIL populations – towards a marker-assisted breeding programme.

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Bambara Groundnut. Photo credit: Prof Festo Massawe 



Underutilised legumes such as Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranean L. Verdc) are rich in nutrients and can be used to reduce food and nutrition insecurities. However, it remains an Underutilised crop. To date, there are no registered Bambara groundnut varieties in Southern Africa. Farmers still use landraces developed through seed selection over many generations. Some of these landraces carry important adaptive traits but are low yielding overall. The additional problem is that Bambara groundnut (along with many other legumes) has the ‘hard-to-cook’ (HTC) phenomenon, which may provide some protection from storage pests but often requires expensive and

hard-to-obtain fuel to rehydrate and cook.   


The overall objective of this study is to identify genomic regions associated with desirable agronomic traits and cooking quality in Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea), as a prelude to marker-assisted selection to combine traits in adapted materials for southern African conditions.  



  1. To implement the quality control and hybrid confirmation using existing SSR markers at UKZN.

  2. To generate phenotypic data based on the inbred populations.

  3. To generate high quality DNA for DarT Seq analysis and data generation.

  4. To perform QTL analysis in both populations and comparison with early generation results.

  5. To identify flanking markers for MAS and anchor them onto the recently developed genome sequence for S19-3 (23 scaffolds representing 11 chromosomes).

  6. To use genome sequence to develop simple KASP sequenced based markers for future selection of QTL alleles in breeding programmes .

  7. To identify performing lines for registration for cultivar testing and release.

  8. To establish a crossing protocol at UKZN.

  9. To develop F1 generations between good lines within both crosses, between crosses and also with accessions containing novel or enhanced traits of interest. 

Bambara groundnut seed
Photo credit: Prof Festo Massawe 



Professor Julia Sibiya 
PI for the grant,
University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Professor Sean Mayes
Global Programme Director, Accelerated Crop Improvement, ICRISAT, India

Professor Festo Massawe
University of Nottingham Malaysia, Malaysia

Professor Tafadzwa Mabhaudhi
Co-PI, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Dr. Admire Shayanowako
University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa 


Dr. Takudzwa Mandizvo
University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa 


Project Locations in South Africa 

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