Habits of a highly successful cereal killer, Striga

Striga is a highly successful pathogen of cereal crops in sub-Saharan Africa. Most cultivated cereals, including maize, millet, sorghum, and rice, are parasitized by at least one Striga species, leading to enormous economic losses. With limited and ineffective management options, Striga has continued to increase both its host range and area under infestation. In this article, the authors outline seven unique characteristics of Striga as a parasite of great economic importance, explore reasons for its success, and outline emerging control options.

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DNA Sequencing Analysis of African Xanthomonas oryzaepv. oryzae Virulence Gene (AXaVrg) DNA Marker

Global rice production is constrained by bacterial leaf blight (BLB) disease caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo). BLB disease incidence in West Africa was between 70–85% and yield loss in farmers’ fields was in the range of 50–90% from 2005 to 2010. In this study, African Xoo virulence gene OPP-172000 DNA marker was identified and purified using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA PCR products from 50 Xoo isolates. The results of this work are potentially useful for effective management of BLB disease in West Africa.

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Sequencing of bulks of segregants allows dissection of genetic control of amylose content in rice

Amylose content (AC) is a key quality trait in rice. A cross between Oryza glaberrima (African rice) and Oryza sativa (Asian rice) segregating for AC was analyzed by sequencing bulks of individuals with high and low AC. SNP associated with the granule bound starch synthase (GBSS1) locus on chromosome 6 were polymorphic between the bulks. This study demonstrated that the approach of sequencing bulks was able to identify genes on different chromosomes associated with this complex trait.

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