Photo: Courtesy of G.J.H. Grubben
 GENETIC DIVERSITY: Fruits of the Scarlett eggplant (Solanum aethiopicum), of which the immature fruits and leaves are used as vegetables.

European and African scientists have launched an ambitious project to review the current literature about useful plants of tropical Africa. From 2003 to 2013, researchers will examine and update all written documentation about approximately 7,000 commodity plants in 47 African countries and islands from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn, and then compile the information into an easily accessible database and some handbooks. The goal of the Plant Resources of Tropical Africa (PROTA) project is to help countries make better use of their rich biodiversity. It also should put valuable knowledge about the plant resources in this largely neglected region at the fingertips of scientists worldwide.


"Africa holds more than 25% of the world's biodiversity. ... The diversity of crops today...

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