Apply Now
News Date : 24 January, 2024


Kelebonye Ramolekwa is studying PhD in Crop Science under Agronomy stream, in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. Her Ph.D. research project is on “Dissecting gamma irradiated induced polygenic mutations associated with yield and nutritional value in cowpea (Vigna unguiculata). This is a collaborative project between BUAN and NARDI, and she is under the supervision of Dr. Tait (BUAN), Dr. Lekgari (NARDI), Prof. Ngwako (BUAN) and Dr. Malambane (BUAN).

The study aims to investigate the induced genetic variability and nutritional value of gamma- irradiated cowpea mutants to inform their food applicability. This is to find out if there is a any genetic variation or improved nutritional value of these cowpea mutants lines whether to be used directly by farmers or for biodiversity for future breeding programme.

Her project has adopted morpho-physiological, biochemical, metabolomics and transcriptomics approaches to unravel the genetic variations associated with growth, grain yield and nutritional factors. Ms. Ramolekwa uses cowpea mutants irradiated at 300GY, 400GY, and 500GY doses with the background of Tswana cowpea. She is currently collecting photosynthetic-related parameters from the field experiment using multiSpeQ. These include data parameters such as light intensity, relative chlorophyll fluorescence, linear electron flow, photosystem II quantum yield and non-photochemical excitation quenching. After that, she will be conducting wet laboratory experiments consisting of biochemical analysis of enzymes, metabolite quantification, marker-assisted genotyping, and the transcriptional analysis of specific genes using real-time PCR.

This is her 2nd field trial for the 2023/2024 growing season. The trial will be completed in March 2024. She is very determined and puts a lot of hard work to ensure that her project looks this beautiful to yield the expected results associated with improved growth, grain yield and nutritional value in cowpea.