Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Gene sequencing targets parasitic plants

By
From page A7 | August 21, 2013 | Leave Comment

An international research team, including a UC Davis plant scientist, is using the molecular magic of gene sequencing and transfer to break the stranglehold of witchweed and other parasitic plants that annually cause billions of dollars in crop losses around the world.

Joining forces through the Parasitic Plant Genome Project, funded by the National Science Foundation, UC Davis professor John Yoder and colleagues are identifying the genome-wide changes that have evolved to equip this intriguing but often devastating group of wild plants to develop their parasitic lifestyle.

“We know that parasitic plants evolved from non-parasitic plants, so we take an evolutionary approach and ask, ‘What are the genetic changes that make a plant parasitic, and what are the genetic consequences once a plant becomes a parasite?’” said Yoder, whose lab in the department of plant sciences is contributing to the Parasitic Plant Genome Project

“The next stage is to identify critical parasite genes and pathways and use this information to develop parasite-resistant crops.”

In a May cover article for the journal Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, Yoder and co-author Pradeepa C.G. Bandaranayake of the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, demonstrated a new strategy for engineering within host plants a killer DNA molecule that is toxic to at least one species of Orobanchaceae.

This family of almost 2,000 parasitic plant species includes some of the world’s worst agricultural pests, notably Striga or witchweed and Orobanche, also known as broomrape.

Striga, for example, has a reputation for covertly destroying crop fields. By the time the purple flowers of this parasitic weed have bloomed, the field is already ruined. Removed from the soil, Striga can return decades later through dormant seeds. The infestations are particularly devastating to staple crops like rice, maize, millet and sorghum in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

Because Striga and Orobanche can be so invasive, researchers in the Yoder lab instead use in their studies the closely related parasitic plant Triphysaria, or dwarf owls clover, which is native to California.

The recently published study showed that an inhibitory RNA gene-transfer technique could reduce by 80 percent the viability of Triphysaria roots after the parasite has attached to the genetically modified host.

A $3.4 million grant, recently awarded by the National Science Foundation to the Parasitic Plant Genome Project, will enable Yoder and his research colleagues to conduct controlled laboratory experiments that will be followed by field testing in Israel, Kenya or Morocco.

“The next step will be to take the gene that has proven effective against Triphysaria and put it into crops, in particular tomato and maize, to test it against Orobanche and Striga and see if it actually works against real weeds,” Yoder said.

— UC Davis News Service

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Former caretaker convicted of murder, elder abuse

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Old friend helps Brad and others find kidneys

By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Chuck Rairdan joins school board race

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

Going green at church, school, everywhere

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
UCD to host Global Health Day event

By Cory Golden | From Page: A2

Ukraine insurgents reject call to quit buildings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 3 Comments

 
Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
‘Hitchhiking’ dog looking for new home

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Online K-12 school holds info night

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Schwenger lawn signs available

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

Volunteers needed for Grad Night

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Davis grad makes rain collection a business

By Jason McAlister | From Page: A4 | Gallery

A few spots left on history tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Chipotle fundraiser boosts Emerson tech upgrade

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Event to provide nature scholarship

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Students have new options on leasing front

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Groups join for a day of service

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
NAMI backers walk in Sacramento

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Food for the hungry

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

.

Forum

Dad makes mom look bad

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
More tax money? Answer the question

By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

 
UCD IS responsible for students

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
In search of great ideas

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Please keep the nursery open

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Early help is a great investment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Aggies lose a slugfest in opener at Riverside

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Fox coming to UCD; Riffle heads to Florida

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

DHS’ Golston goes full-bore on the diamond

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devils show more life in loss to Mitty

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Sharks double up Kings in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
DYSA roundup: Intensity has big week; 10U games dominate schedule

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Pro baseball roundup: Susac sends Sacramento to a rare loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Sports briefs: Aggies set the academic bar high

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

‘The Bloom’ paves way for Whole Earth Festival

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
DHS tribute to Tony Fields slated for April 25-26

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

UCD, city team up for Music on the Green

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
‘Transcendence’: A whole new level of tedium

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

.

Business

Ford turns its Focus to domestic market

By Ali Arsham | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, April 18, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A9

 
.

Real Estate Review

Featured Listing

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

Professional Services Directory

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

Lyon Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

Acacia at Huntington Square

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Jamie Madison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Yolo FCU

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Travis Credit Union

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

Kim Eichorn

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Suzanne Kimmel

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Lynne Wegner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Kim Merrel Lamb

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Patricia Echevarria

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Chris Snow

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Sheryl Patterson

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Don Guthrie

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Andrew Dowling

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Heather Barnes

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Julie Partain & Dick Partain

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Malek Baroody

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

Karen Waggoner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Willowbank Park

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Julie Leonard

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Tim Harrison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Team Traverso

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Tracy Harris

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Lori Prizmich

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Joe Kaplan

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Raul Zamora

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

Open House Map

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

F1rst Street Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20