Research Promotion Division (RPD),
Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM), Nagoya University
4 - 5
Striga, also known as witchweed, is a major contributor to poverty and food supply problems in Africa. It is a parasitic plant which germinates in response to the release of a particular molecule by the cereals which become its hosts. ITbM took this process and succeeded in creating a molecule which would deceive Striga into germinating without a host present, and we are currently conducting field testing in Africa with the aim of relieving the food supply problem it has caused. In order to better spread the understanding of what we have learned, we developed this card game which participants in science events, for example, can play. It teaches the principles of parasitic relationships and interactions between living things and molecules that occur in the natural world. Using this card game, along with images from Africa that give a clear understanding of the topic at hand, we aim to give people a tangible sense of what molecules can do, and continue to spread the understanding of molecules wider into society.
The damage caused by Striga
The Striga-repelling molecule created by ITbM’s researchers
How to play Striga Cards
Looking to the future
We continue to revise and improve this game based on the responses of the participants. Following its appearance at science events, we have received a great deal of interest from the education sector. Closing the information gap between the general public and researchers who work with molecules day-in, day-out is key to the integration of molecular technologies into society. At ITbM, we strive to fill that gap with our continued efforts to create strategic education materials, listen to the voices of those we work with and improve scientific communication for everyone.
ITbM aims to connect educational providers with organizations and people in the world of science who can help them get the results that they seek.