Agroecosystems

A weedy challenge

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Science  02 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6452, pp. 459-460
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6452.459-g

Most organisms that humans consider to be pests or pathogens quickly evolve resistance to all control measures. Competition from weeds is a threat to food security, and weeds are the object of intense control measures in agroecosystems. Recognizing the inevitability of resistance, Comont et al. developed an evolutionary epidemiological model to predict adaptive evolution to the increasing use of the herbicide glyphosate. In the past 25 years, arable farming has become reliant on this herbicide. But now, black grass, Alopecurus myosuroides, an aggressive weed species across northern latitudes, is rapidly acquiring polygenic resistance to glyphosate. Historical field management data and seed collection of black grass from the United Kingdom show high variation of sensitivity to glyphosate in this weed, and the model predicts escalating selection for rapid loss of glyphosate sensitivity.

New Phytol. 223, 1584 (2019).

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