Wild sorghum will soon provide a reservoir for resistance genes against Striga. A research team lead by Dr. Steven Runo of the Plant Transformation Laboratory (PTL) at Kenyatta University and Professor Michael Timko of University of Virginia has identified three wild sorghum accessions resistant to Striga hermonthica (witchweed), a parasitic plant devastating cereal production in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Striga is a growing pandemic in Africa and Asia, with ability to destroy a crop with up to a 100% yield loss. Today, 300 million farmers from over 25 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa incur losses in excess of US$7 billion annually due to Striga infestation. Covering over 100 million hectares, the weed has particularly established host in key regional staple crops maize, sorghum, millet, and upland rice, greatly undermining the efforts to attain food security and economic growth. Read more