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Developing New & Improved Cowpea Varieties
Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside will use genetic technology to develop new and improved cowpea varieties - a legume crop of immense importance to Africa. Jeff Ehlers is lead investigator and a specialist in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences.

Ehlers: Over the years at UCR, we've developed a large collection of cowpea genetic resources and these are cowpea varieties that have been collected from all parts of the world, most from Africa and these are collected from villages to research stations to varieties that are sold commercially in markets and so on. And so this represents the diversity that exists in the cultivated crop species.

Narrator: Besides helping resource-poor African farmers, Ehlers sees lots of potential for protein-rich cowpeas in the United States, too, were its known as ‘black-eyed peas'.

Ehlers: We're developing all white types that can be used in value-added foods. They can be added in to nutritionally supplement many of our common foods such as mashed potatoes or reads, cookies and crackers.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.