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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2008 Apr;11(2):180-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2008.02.004. Epub 2008 Mar 11.

Striga infestation of cereal crops - an unsolved problem in resource limited agriculture.

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Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, United Kingdom.


The parasitic weed Striga causes devastating losses in cereal yields in sub-Saharan Africa. The parasite lifecycle is intimately linked with its host via a complex interchange of signals. Understanding the molecular basis of these interactions and of host resistance to Striga is essential for the identification of genes for improving crop yield via biotechnological or marker assisted breeding strategies. Cloning and sequencing of ESTs from the 'model' parasite Triphysaria versicolor is facilitating the identification of parasitism genes. The identification of resistance to Striga in sorghum and rice germplasm is allowing molecular dissection of these traits using genomic platforms and quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis. QTL underlying different resistance phenotypes have been identified and the use of advanced backcross populations is allowing the exploitation of sources of resistance in wild relatives of cereals.

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