Used as a decorative grass or animal feed in much of the world, tef (Eragrostis tef) is a staple food for over 70% of the 80 million people in Ethiopia. The Tef Improvement Project is dedicated to the study of tef because of its nutritional and health benefits, and because of its tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, particularly drought and waterlogging. It can be cultivated in a wide range of ecological niches, including semi-arid areas prone to drought where maize, rice and wheat do not survive. While tef is the most important crop in Ethiopia, it is also gaining in popularity as a life-style food in the developed world because it is gluten-free and high in protein, vitamins, and minerals such as calcium, iron and zinc.
Tef Genome Released
The first draft of the Tef Genome has been released and is available for download. The draft genome contains 672 Mbp, 87% of the genome size estimated from flow cytometry. Two transcriptomes are also availabe, one from a normalized RNA library and another from unnormalized RNASeq data. The normalized RNA library contains around 38000 transcripts with annotations by the SwissProt group.