Scientists identify factors which drive the evolution of herbicide resistance

ScienceDaily | 2/13/2018 | Staff
xhelloworld (Posted by) Level 4
Xenobiotic chemicals, such as herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and antibiotics, are used in both agriculture and healthcare to manage pests and diseases. However, resistance has evolved to all these types of xenobiotics, rendering them ineffective with serious consequences for crop production and health.

The new study, led by researchers from the University of Sheffield's Department of Animal and Plant Sciences in collaboration with Rothamsted Research and the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, gives an important insight into how we can learn from past management of agricultural systems to reduce the likelihood of resistance evolving in the future.

Strategies - Resistance - Revolve - Management - Range

Current strategies for managing resistance revolve around diversifying management and the range of chemicals used. Similar techniques have been proposed in medicine and agriculture but there is not yet a consensus on what is the best approach.

In the new study, published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, researchers examined the evolution of herbicide resistance in black-grass (Alopecurus myosuroides) in the UK. This has become a widespread weed present in 88 per cent of 24,824 of quadrats -- small areas of habitat selected at random as samples for assessing the local distribution of plants and animals -- monitored by researchers. It has spread northward in recent years and the scientists found the weed in areas where it had not been found in previous decades.

Author - Study - Rob - Freckleton - Professor

Lead author of the study Rob Freckleton, Professor of Population Biology from the University of Sheffield, said: "The driver for this spread is evolved herbicide resistance: we found that weeds in fields with higher densities are more resistant to herbicides.

"Once resistance has evolved it does not seem to go away: two years later, fields with high densities still had high densities, despite farmers employing a suite of different management techniques.

Costs - Costs

"We estimate that the economic costs of this are very high: the costs of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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