New Pre-Attachment Striga Resistant Sorghum Adapted to African Agro-Ecologies
Mallu, Tesfamichael S.
Githiri, Stephen M.
Odeny, Damaris Achieng
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Background: Pre-attachment resistance to the parasitic plants Striga hermonthica and S. asiatica occurs in sorghum mutants designated low germination stimulant 1 (lgs1). However, only a few of these mutants have been identified and their resistance validated. Additionally, pre-attachment resistance in sorghum beyond lgs1 mutants has not been explored. We used lgs1-specific markers to identify new lgs1-like mutants in a diverse global sorghum collection. The sorghum collection was also evaluated for pre-attachment resistance against Striga using an in vitro assay that measured Striga germination activity and radicle growth. Results: From a total of 177 sorghum accessions, 60 recorded mean germination levels of below 42%, which is comparable with the previously identified lgs1-like sorghum (SRN39 and IS9830) used as controls in this study. Furthermore, 32 of these accessions recorded Striga radicle lengths comparable or lower than the controls (0.42 mm). Thirty-eight accessions contained the lgs1 mutation and although overall, lgs1 mutants had considerably reduced Striga germination, some low inducers of Striga germination were wild-type for lgs1. Germination was positively but weakly correlated with radicle length pointing to additional radicle growth inhibitory activity. Conclusions: lgs1 mutations, alongside other mechanisms for low Striga germination stimulation, are prevalent in sorghum, and poor Striga radicle growth is suggestive of host-derived inhibition. As an outcome, our study makes available multiple Striga-resistant sorghum with adaptability to diverse agro-ecological regions in sub-Saharan Africa making immediate deployment possible. © 2021 Society of Chemical Industry.