The cassava plant is one of the most important food sources in the world. In Africa, it sustains 500 million people and provides a stable income for farmers. The crop is also susceptible to viruses transmitted by the common pest known as the whitefly, which can devastate farms. Biologist Laura Boykin has found a way to stop the spread of these diseases. Boykin founded the Cassava Virus Action Project, where she and other scientists use a pocket-sized device called a MinION to sequence the DNA of cassava strains and help farmers select plants that are resistant to the local pathogens.On this episode of Gadget Lab, a conversation with Boykin about her work, the power of direct action, and the possibilities afforded by the technology we have today. The show was recorded with a live audience at the recent WIRED25 conference in San Francisco.Show Notes: Read more about the efforts of Boykin and her fellow scientists at the Cassava Virus Action Project website. Also learn more about Boykin and all of 2019’s WIRED 25 honorees.Recommendations: Lauren Goode can be found on Twitter @LaurenGoode. Arielle Pardes is @pardesoteric. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our consulting executive producer is Alex Kapelman (@alexkapelman). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.How to ListenYou can always listen to this week's podcast through the audio player on this page, but if you want to subscribe for free to get every episode, here's how:If you're on an iPhone or iPad, open the app called Podcasts, or just tap this link. You can also download an app like Overcast or Pocket Casts, and search for Gadget Lab. If you use Android, you can find us in the Google Play Music app just by tapping here. We’re on Spotify too. You can also download an app like Pocket Casts or Google Podcasts, and search for Gadget Lab. And in case you really need it, here's the RSS feed.