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Cassava is the main source of calories for half a billion people around the world and is especially critical for food security in Africa. Despite its global importance, cassava has received relatively little research attention compared to other staple crops. Chiedozie Egesi, project manager for the Cornell-based NextGen Cassava Project, describes efforts to bring cassava breeding into the 21st century by incorporating plant genetic resources and genomic technologies to improve yield, nutritional properties, and pest and disease resistance.