How we're using DNA tech to help farmers fight crop diseases | Laura Boykin | Summary and Q&A

by
TED
YouTube video player
How we're using DNA tech to help farmers fight crop diseases | Laura Boykin

TL;DR

In this content, the speaker discusses their passion for using computational biology and cutting-edge technology to help small-scale family farmers in Africa increase their food production.

Install to Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Transcripts

Questions & Answers

Q: What motivates the speaker to get out of bed every day?

The speaker gets out of bed for two reasons - to address the issue of hunger among small-scale family farmers and to promote diversity and inclusivity in the field of science.

Q: How does the speaker describe their occupation as a computational biologist?

The speaker describes being a computational biologist as a combination of their interest in computers and biology, which allows them to use the latest technology to address challenges such as hunger.

Q: How did the speaker become a computational biologist?

The speaker stumbled into biology while looking for a work-study job in college. They landed a job in the biology building, which eventually led them to pursue a career in computational biology.

Q: Why did the speaker decide to work with farmers in Africa?

The speaker decided to work with farmers in Africa because of their computing skills. In 2013, a team of East African scientists asked them to join their efforts to save cassava, a plant that is vital for feeding millions of people in Africa.

Q: What are the challenges faced by small-scale family farmers growing cassava in Africa?

Small-scale family farmers growing cassava in Africa face challenges such as whiteflies and viruses that devastate the crop. Whiteflies transmit plant viruses that cause cassava brown streak disease and cassava mosaic disease, leading to crop loss and food insecurity.

Q: How does the speaker's team address the challenges faced by cassava farmers?

The speaker's team developed a portable DNA sequencer called an Oxford Nanopore MinION to quickly diagnose the pests and pathogens affecting cassava. By bringing the technology closer to the farmers, they can provide quick results and solutions, such as burning affected fields and planting resistant varieties.

Q: How does Tree Lab impact small-scale family farmers?

Tree Lab, the portable DNA sequencing project, has had a positive impact on small-scale family farmers. For example, one farmer named Asha saw her cassava yield increase from zero to 40 tons per hectare, providing enough food for her family and additional income.

Q: How does the speaker plan to scale up Tree Lab?

The speaker plans to scale up Tree Lab by leveraging the existing farmer groups in Africa. By providing solutions to individual farmers like Asha, the impact extends to the entire farmer group, benefiting thousands of people in a village.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker gets out of bed for two reasons: to provide more food for small-scale family farmers and to make science more diverse and inclusive.

  • As a computational biologist, the speaker uses technology to help end hunger by working with farmers in Africa, specifically focusing on saving the cassava plant from whiteflies and viruses.

  • The speaker's team developed a portable DNA sequencer called Tree Lab, which allows farmers to quickly diagnose and treat plant diseases, resulting in increased food security and improved livelihoods.

Share This Summary 📚

Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Video Transcripts with 1-Click

Download browser extensions on:

Explore More Summaries from TED 📚

Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Video Transcripts with 1-Click

Download browser extensions on: