Cassava breeding has not increased yields for the key crop

Cassava may not be as famous as corn or soybeans, but the crop remains an important food source for over a billion people across 105 countries. Over the years, scientists have worked to breed and cultivate cassava to survive attacks from various pests and diseases.

But today’s Video of the Day comes from the University of Illinois and reveals that despite advances in breeding, unimproved cassava are actually 20 percent better at photosynthesizing than the “improved” versions.

As a result, cassava yields are no greater than they were in 1963, while corn yields have more than doubled in that time.

By Rory Arnold, Staff Writer

Video Credit: Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency, University of Illinois