Local genetic adaption helps sorghum crop hide from witchweed

Sorghum crops in areas where the agricultural parasite striga, also known as witchweed, is common are more likely to have genetic adaptations to help them resist the parasite, according to new research led by Penn State scientists.

The parasitic plant witchweed, which has bright flowers, has a variety of hosts, including the important cereal crop sorghum. A new study reveals that sorghum plants where witchweed is most prevalent are locally adapted to deal with the parasite by having a mutation in the LGS1 gene. IMAGE: S.M. RUNO, KENYATTA UNIVERSITY