Parasitic plants steal water and nutrients from host plants to which they attach. Many parasitic plants can be pests on agricultural crops, and current options for control are limited. Field dodder (Cuscuta campestris) is a parasitic plant that is widespread in the US and which can cause substantial crop loss. We have discovered that field dodder injects tiny bits of genetic material into its hosts. These injected bits, called 'microRNAs', manipulate certain genes in the host. This project will test the hypothesis that these injected microRNAs enhance field dodder's capbility to grow and reproduce. We will also test several ideas for interfering with these injected microRNAs, with the hopes of reducing field dodder's fitness. This project could lead to novel methods to reduce crop loss by field dodder by interfering with injected microRNAs.
|Effective start/end date||9/1/18 → 8/31/22|
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $797,504.00