African BioGenome Project Genomics in the service of conservation and improvement of African biological diversity

What is the African BioGenome Project?

A coordinated pan-African effort to build capacity (and infrastructure) to generate, analyze and deploy genomics data for the improvement and sustainable use of biodiversity and agriculture across Africa. We refer to this coordinated pan-African effort as the African BioGenome Project (AfricaBP), and the community of networks to deliver on this agenda as Digital Innovations in Africa for a Sustainable Agri-Environment and Conservation (DAISEA). Read More

Mission

To foster scientific collaborations and partnerships, provide the platform for innovations and policy change across Africa through biodiversity genomics.

Vision

To harness the power of genomics for the improvement and sustainable use of biodiversity across Africa.

AfricaBP Objectives

Develop a DAISEA network of interdisciplinary participants, collaborators, and partners to identify and promote emerging innovations applicable to agro-ecosystem. Engage members of the Animal genetic resources taxonomy advisory group (AnGRTAG) established during the genetic projects implemented by AU-IBAR, to ensure the sustainability and efficient utilization of human resources supported by the AU-IBAR. Engage similar working groups for plant taxonomy.

Deploy relevant skills and technology transfer mechanisms in the area of computer programming, Nanopore sequencing, and bioinformatics, remote sensing, data-model assimilation and genomic breeding methods to build a critical mass of knowledge required for the analysis of agroecosystem data. Delineate and demonstrate the relevance of these technologies in the smooth running of the regional plant and animal gene banks to support decision making for the genetic improvement of plant and animal genetic resources in Africa. Engage with strategic research and higher learning institution collaborators as recommended by AU-IBAR, as well as the managers of the regional gene bank as part of the capacity building programme for the management, conservation and sustainable utilisation of African Animal genetic resources for food and agriculture.

Determine the key applicable information and establish a rich functional database. This will involve the use of molecular and environmental data generation where appropriate, taking into account taxonomic components and abiotic and biotic factors, as well as using existing data from public resources and databases such as the African Animal Genetic Resources Information System (AAGRIS). Align objective with the Animal Resources Information System (ARIS3) in generating useful Animal Resources information to assist decision making, and enhancing data and information sharing capability among different stakeholders in Africa. In line with the DAISEA-ARIS3 objectives, match the genetics/genomic information to the biotic and abiotic data, improve the new version of the system and better assist African scientists and member states of the African Union to improve their information and knowledge management capacity to not only swiftly respond to disease emergencies, but to also properly plan interventions in animal health, animal production, and trade and marketing.

Explore and exploit applicability of machine learning algorithms: in monitoring livestock genomics for breeding programmes; to establish predator-prey relationships, nutrient cycles and requirements, and inorganic ions constituents in target agroecosystems; for crop monitoring and realising smart interventions (e.g. irrigation, fertilisation, pesticide, herbicide and irrigation applications, soil management) on cultivated land in order to increase yield and improve climate resilience with limited ecological pressures. Support the establishment of AI and IoT as the backbone of the Regional Technology and innovation incubation hubs in Africa (A-TiChubs) to be implemented under the AU-IBAR project on “Sustainable Development of Livestock for Livelihoods in Africa – Live2Africa”. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, and future going remote, the synergic exploitation of the available technology platform for distant support and service delivery to farmers will remain a very promising and cheap option in the absence of the common logistical support.

Develop optimal DNA sampling protocols for agricultural and biodiversity systems, such as soil, water, and air, can be used to drive informed decisions and change agricultural practices in Africa, with potential for global reach.

Grand Challenges

The AfricaBP, DAISEA Grand Challenges (GCs) aims to deliver value for the African people and build genomics and bioinformatics capacities across Africa.


Affiliations and Framework

The AfricaBP is an affiliated project of the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP), corporate partner of Inqaba Biotec, partnering project of the 10,000 Plants Genomes Project (10KP), and collaborating project of the Vertebrate Genomes Project (VGP)

Erich Jarvis

Like the people, Africa includes some of the greatest diversity of life on the planet. AfricaBP will tap into this diversity and help open the keys to understanding the genetics behind many diverse traits. I look forward to working with AfricaBP, in my capacity as chair of the Vertebrate Genomes Project, executive committee of the Earth Biogenome Project, and overall personal interest.

Professor and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Rockefeller University, USA
Chair, Vertebrate Genome Project (VGP)

Nicola Mulder

I have been following the development of the AfricaBP with interest and admiration. It is a shining example of African scientists taking the initiative to develop a world class program that is African led. The enormous diversity of flora and fauna on the continent as well as the use of some of these for food and medicinal products supports the importance of a biodiversity project that can benefit African countries as well as contribute to the global Earth BioGenome project. I look forward to seeing the data being generated and analysed by African scientists and providing the necessary support to help build the capacity for this to be achieved.

Professor, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Principal Investigator, Human Hereditary and Health in Africa Bioinformatics Network (H3ABioNet)

Harris Lewin

As the cradle of human civilization, and home to many of the world’s iconic species, Africa plays a special role in global efforts to understand and conserve biodiversity.  The Africa BioGenome Project is an outstanding example of scientists coming together from across the African continent to develop critical knowledge that will be necessary for feeding its people and for protecting its biodiversity from the impacts of climate change and habitat destruction.  The Earth BioGenome project warmly welcomes the African BioGenome Project to the world-wide community of institutions, affiliated projects and engaged scientists who are committed to sequencing and annotating the genomes of all eukaryotic species.

Professor of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis
Professor of Population Health and Reproduction, University of California, Davis
Chair, Earth BioGenome Project (EBP)

Anne Muigai

The African BioGenome Project seeks to actively sequence genomes of African species – plants and animals- that mean so much to us as Africans. Plants and animals are interwoven into our way of life. They provide us with food, medicines, shelter, provide a source of income and enrich our lives when they are interwoven with our customs and traditions. Sequencing these genomes will see these species conserved, improved or just utilized effectively.

Professor of Genetics, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya

ThankGod Ebenezer

The current biodiversity genomics revolution sweeping across the world is expected to get us better at sequencing genomes, conserving and improving biological resources, innovating new technologies, and informing policies globally. Rich in biological diversity, the African BioGenome Project (AfricaBP) will help to improve biological resources across Africa. More importantly, AfricaBP will build biodiversity genomics and bioinformatics capacity for African scientists whilst bringing these technologies closer to the African people through portable means that are adaptable to the African terrain.

Bioinformatician, European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), Hinxton, UK

Appolinaire Djikeng

AfricaBP is another (but decisive) opportunity that will harness the power of genomics for research and development in Africa. Through AfricaBP, scientists, policy makers and other stakeholders will have the opportunity to create the scientific knowledge and relevant policies that are necessary to understand, to conserve and to use Africa’s unique biodiversity to drive sustainable development.

Professor, University of Edinburgh, UK
Chair, Tropical Agriculture and Sustainable Development
Director, Center for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH)

Jenniffer Mabuka-Maroa

AfricaBP presents a unique platform for Africa to harness its flora and fauna. Key African science agencies mandated, or with interests, to advance scientific knowledge must be essential stakeholders in the AfricaBP, and would have a responsibility in the translation and application of the knowledge generated.

Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Washington, USA
Independent Consultant

Mark Blaxter

The vision and ambitions of the African BioGenome Project are both humbling and extraordinarily exciting – building capacity and knowledge within the continent to support the sequencing and analysis of all life on the continent. The Tree of Life programme at the Wellcome Sanger Institute is honoured to be able to collaborate in this world-changing initiative

Programme Lead, Tree of Life Programme, Wellcome Sanger Institute, UK
Senior Group Leader, Wellcome Sanger Institute, UK
Professor of Evolutionary Genomics

Rajaâ Cherkaoui El Moursli

Having visited a lot of countries around the world, I can attest that African biodiversity is unique on the planet. It is important to understand and conserve this biodiversity. By implementing genomic and innovative technologies in Africa, this pan-African project will create local expertise and infrastructure, and will also increase partnership between African countries. It makes me feel good and proud to know that our Moroccan researchers are going to participate in this great and useful adventure.

Professor, Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco
Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences
Scroll to Top