Strigolactones are plant hormones that regulate plant architecture. Additionally strigolactones are released to the soil to attract beneficial mycorrhizal symbionts.
Certain parasitic plant species take advantage of this communication to recognize and infect their hosts. This causes significant economic losses in the Mediterranean region and especially in Sub Saharan Africa where the parasitic plant infestation put food security at risk. In this thesis a large variation in strigolactone biosynthesis between the two major rice groups (indica and japonica) is described and the genes responsible for this are located. Also, it is shown that different types of strigolactones stimulate mycorrhiza and seeds of parasitic plants differently. These results contribute to the use of strigolactones as tools for crop improvement and to the urgent need of controlling parasitic plant infestation.