University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars > CANCELLED: Striga, the scourge of Africa: Understanding the molecular basis of resistance in cereals to the parasitic witchweeds

CANCELLED: Striga, the scourge of Africa: Understanding the molecular basis of resistance in cereals to the parasitic witchweeds

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Rice, maize and sorghum are staple foods for millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa yet yields of less than 1 tonne per hectare are common. One of the most important biotic constraints to cereal production and yield improvement in this region are the parasitic witchweeds Striga hermonthica and S. asiatica. These parasites invade the roots of their hosts causing severe stunting and yield losses that range from 40% to total crop failure. In this seminar I will give an overview of the approaches we are taking to identify the molecular basis of susceptibility and resistance in rice to Striga, with the aim of developing cultivars with durable resistance to these devastating parasites. I will then describe in detail how we have used ‘mapping populations’ of rice and functional genomics to fine map an important Striga-resistance Quantitative Trait Locus (QTL ) and identify a small number of candidate resistance genes.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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