First step towards controlling Striga
A first step towards combating parasitic Striga spp weeds, considered the most damaging agricultural agents in the developing world, has been made. Researchers from the Canadian University of Toronto and the RIKEN Plant Science Centre (Yokohama, Japan) have identified five genes that express small molecules called cotylimides, which increase the production of a hormone, strigolactone, in plants. It was already known that the presence of strigolactone triggers germination of Striga seeds. The scientists also identified other molecules related to cotylimides that downregulate strigolactone synthesis.