Ibrahim Bio Yerima AR, AchiganDako EG. A review of the orphan small grain cereals improvement with a comprehensive plan for genomicsassisted breeding of fonio millet in West Africa. Plant Breed. 2021;00:1–14. https://doi.org/10.1111/pbr.12930.
Orphan small grain cereals highly contribute to food and nutrition security worldwide, although the genetic and genomic resources for these cereals are far less available compared to major grain cereals. Consequently, there is low progress in their genetic improvement notwithstanding the high nutrient content, diversity, and health benefits of many of them. Therefore, additional efforts are expected to improve our understanding of the genes related to important agronomic traits. In this review, we provide an overview of achievements and bottlenecks in orphan small cereals improvement. We point out the need for the generation of basic knowledge that should guide the initial breeding process of orphan small cereals. Focusing on fonio, we showed how conventional breeding combined with advances in next-generation sequencing technologies could potentially speed up the genetic improvement of the crop. Furthermore, a comprehensive action plan that integrates research, technological development and dissemination, and value chain improvement was illustrated in this review. These actions will foster the economy of West African fonio millet through wider cultivation, marketing, and consumption.