Jennifer A. Thomson
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Most of the plant biotechnology in Africa is being carried out in South Africa, Egypt, and Kenya. At the University of Cape Town, maize resistant to maize streak virus (MSV) and drought-tolerant maize are being developed, as well as vaccine production in tobacco. The South African Sugar Experiment Station is developing herbicide-resistant sugarcane. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has engineered fungi-resistant maize and millet. The Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute in Cairo has developed insect-resistant Egyptian cotton and is carrying out field trails on a variety of other genetically modified (GM) crops. The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute is conducting field trials on virus-resistant sweetpotatoes. Problems faced by many scientists on the continent are the slow passage of GM crops from experimental to commercial stages and the difficulties in meeting regulatory requirements.

Key words: Crops, virus resistance, abiotic stress resistance, herbicide resistance, insect resistance.