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Agrobiodiversity / About us

About us

The purpose of this blog is to help build and maintain strong relationships with partners and other stakeholders in CIAT’s agrobiodiversity research by keeping them informed about recent developments and by providing them with an easy way to inquire and comment about our work. Center researchers report here on new projects, key advances in our collaborative efforts, events, visits, and crop variety releases and adoption.

Solutions in the seeds

The gene pools of the four crops on which CIAT conducts research – beans, cassava, rice, and tropical forages – form a key part of the world’s agricultural biodiversity.

The Center’s collaborative work to conserve, understand, and use genetic resources of those crops contributes importantly to making agricultural production more eco-efficient. The superior crop varieties that result from our work offer many valuable traits, such as high yield and stress tolerance, which are vital for guaranteeing global food supplies in the face of rapidly rising demand, shifting disease and insect pressures, rampant environmental degradation, and the looming threat of climate change.

Nurturing New Generations

While some developing countries already have strong bioscience capacity, many others urgently need assistance to build up their human talent for applying new knowledge from areas such as genetics and genomics to crop research. CIAT contributes importantly to capacity strengthening and develops innovative partnerships through which new generations of plant scientists can improve a wide range of crops, using advanced facilities available at CIAT and elsewhere in the developing world.

Building on a bioscience platform

In CIAT’s work on agrobiodiversity, biotechnology techniques are employed to increase the speed and expand the possibilities of crop improvement. For this purpose, the Center has created a state-of-the art bioscience platform, where we apply advanced techniques across diverse crop gene pools to tasks such as germplasm conservation, genomics and phenomics applications, and genetic transformation.

CIAT’s modern genebank, operated by our Genetic Resources Program, is a central component of the bioscience platform. It holds in trust for humanity unique collections of plant genetic resources – 65,000 samples in all – which are critical for progress in crop improvement.

CIAT’s bioscience platform also includes diverse laboratories and field facilities. See below brief descriptions of our main laboratories along with contact information.


Contact: Beata Dedicova (b.dedicova@cgiar.orr) or Paul Chavarriaga (

  • Developing novel germplasm with crop traits, such as stress tolerance and improved nutritional quality, that would otherwise be unavailable because of obstacles such as sexual barriers between species


Contact: Wilmer Cuéllar (

  •  Improving our understanding of virus diversity and its interactions with biotic and abiotic factors to facilitate the development of resistant germplasm and other control measures

Gene Discovery

Contact: Manabu Ishitani (

  • Discovering new genes through the integrated application of genomics and phenomics to make crops more efficient in using resources such as water and nutrients

Molecular Genetics and Tissue Culture

Contact: Gerardo Gallego, molecular genetics (, or Roosevelt Escobar, tissue culture (

  • Developing and using molecular markers and genomics tools to elucidate crop gene pools and make crop improvement more efficient, particularly for nutritional quality and stress tolerance
  • Developing and promoting low-cost methods for cassava propagation, using farmer participatory methods

Bean Genomics

Contact: Bodo Ratz (

  • Conducting molecular analyses to reveal genotype-phenotype correlations for the development of molecular markers used in marker-assisted selection for stress resistance

Cassava Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Contact: Luis Augusto Becerra (

  • Developing gene discovery, genomics, and phenomics tools for novel crop improvement strategies focused on complex traits, such as whitefly resistance and tolerance to postharvest physiological deterioration

Rice Genomics

Contact: Mathias Lorieux (

  • Developing genetic and genomic tools to accelerate gene discovery, analyze intra- and interspecific crosses, and enhance breeding for traits such as disease and pest resistance


Contact: Soroush Parsa (

  • Developing sustainable technologies that better enable improved crop varieties to realize their yield potential in the field by limiting losses to arthropod pests

Rice-Bean Pathology

Contact: Gloria Mosquera (

  • Using advanced techniques to analyze plant pathogen populations and identify sources of disease resistance for the development of elite cultivars through plant breeding

Cassava-Forage Pathology

Contact: Elizabeth Alvarez (

  • Applying the latest technologies to diagnose plant diseases, analyze pathogen populations, identify sources of genetic resistance, and support the use of molecular markers for resistance breeding

Applied Microbiology for Forage-based Animal Nutrition

Contact: Mario Cuchillo (

  • Selecting starter cultures for silages of different tropical forage species and assessing the influence of diverse feed sources on livestock intestinal microflora and their animal health and environmental effects


    Hi we looking to start collaborations with ciat center if it,s possible.

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  • Reinhardt Howeler: Thanks, Keith. It was a pleasure writing this book as it brought back so many good memories of working with cassava, both in Latin America and in Asia. I was lucky that the Nippon Foundation suggested that I write this book and financed its publication. They also wanted a simplified version for farmers and extension workers that could be translated into various languages. The English version of this new book is now going to press in Hanoi, while the Khmer and Vietnamese translations are also ready for printing and the Thai and Chinese translations are still being worked on. In case you are interested in the English version, let me know. My email address is still And let me know where you are working now and what you are doing. Reinhardt
  • Peter de Vroome: Great invention! Could be very usefull in our research in fast detecting CFSD in our planting material. Is this kit already for sale? Peter de Vroome phytopathologist Centre for Agricultural Research in Suriname (C.E.L.O.S.)
  • German-funded research on climate-smart crop-livestock systemsSupport CIAT: […] Written by: Angela Fernando […]
  • Keith Fuglie: An impressive publication! Reinhardt Howeler has done an incredible job of summarizing lessons from nearly 30 years of work on cassava improvement in Asia. This very successful collaboration between CIAT and national research programs demonstrates what can be achieved through modest but persistent investment in agricultural research, even with a relatively neglected crop grown primarily by poor farm families in marginal environments.
  • Unraveling the genetic secrets of the insect ve...: […] Jeff Stuart, an insect molecular geneticist from Purdue University, USA, is bringing new ideas to unravel the genetic secrets of insect vectors of crop virus diseases (RT @CGIAR: News: Unraveling the genetic secrets of the insect vectors of crop virus...  […]
  • Kellan: i am also working on ppd on cassava. can you please help me find find a suitable protocol to analyse ppd.
  • ALI SALEM IBRAHIM: Hi we looking to start collaborations with ciat center if it,s possible.
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