Breeding Sorghum for Striga Resistance: A Review

Fantaye Belay


Striga causes substantial losses in sorghum production in sub-Saharan Africa. Striga-resistant sorghum cultivars could be a major component of integrated striga management, if resistance was available in adapted, productive germplasm. In this paper I review activities of breeding sorghum for striga-resistant. The agar-gel assay is an excellent tool to screen host genotypes in the laboratory for low production of the striga seed germination stimulant. Further laboratory assays are needed which allow the non-destructive, rapid and inexpensive evaluation of individual plants for additional resistance mechanisms. Field screening for striga resistance is hampered by high micro variability in African soils, heterogeneity of natural infestations and concomitant large environmental effects on striga emergence. Due to the extreme variability of the parasite and significant genotype by environment interaction effects, multi-location screening is recommended to obtain materials with stable performance. characterization of crop germplasm and improvement of available sources of resistance for better agronomic performance; transfer and pyramiding of resistance genes into adapted, farmer-selected cultivars; development of striga-resistant parent lines for hybrid or synthetic cultivars; and development of random-mating populations with multiple sources of resistance. The development of marker assisted selection techniques for broad-based, polygenic striga resistance is underway. This approach is particularly promising because striga resistance tests are difficult, expensive, and sometimes unreliable; the parasite is quarantined; and some resistance genes are recessive. Transgenic, herbicide-tolerant sorghums could contribute to an immediate, cost-effective control of striga by herbicides, but such cultivars are not yet available. The selection of sorghum cultivars with specific adaptation to integrated striga management approaches could contribute to sustainable sorghum production in striga-infested areas.

Keywords: breeding strategies, striga, resistant, sorghum, integrated control


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ISSN (Paper)2224-3186 ISSN (Online)2225-0921

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