Eco-tilling detects herbicide resistance early

Aug 30, 2007

A new molecular tool to help farmers address one of the major threats to conventional agricultural practices - herbicide resistance – has been developed by Australian and Japanese researchers.

More than 305 types of weed in more than 50 countries have been reported to be resistant to at least one herbicide, and an increasing number of weeds owe their success to their genetic diversity.

Scientists say techniques are needed to detect mutations when they first occur, so that farmers can test for herbicide resistance in the field and manage weeds accordingly.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) molecular biologist, Dr Mui-Keng Tan, together with a team of researchers from Japan, investigated a technique called eco-tilling and found it offers a quick, cheap and reliable means of detecting early signs of herbicide resistance in weeds.

Unlike the traditional molecular approach, eco-tilling uses reverse genetics. Genes are not fully sequenced; instead, mutations in single nucleotides (molecules that make up genes) are identified purely on the basis of their position in the genome.

Dr Tan said new mutations can be detected and known ones can be screened for at a fraction of the cost of alternative genetic methods.

This makes it a powerful, low-cost and high throughput alternative to full sequencing.

Dr Tan has been investigating the technique in conjunction with Dr Guang-Xi Wang from Kyoto University, who was funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) to work with Dr Tan at DPI’s Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute.

She says the use of the eco-tilling technique to test for herbicide resistance could help farmers to better manage herbicide use in crop rotations, resulting in more economical and effective use of herbicides.

Dr Tan’s research has focused on herbicide resistance in two of the most significant weeds affecting Australian cropping systems – wild oats and rye grass – and together with Dr Wang she examined weeds in rice fields in Japan.

Dr Tan said the every weed-herbicide system is specific.

“The eco-tilling technique can be applied on any particular system pending availability of molecular data on the target genes of the herbicides”, she said.

Source: New South Wales Department of Primary Industries

Explore further: Sundance doc examines real-life Close Encounter

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Arsenic stubbornly taints many US wells, say new reports

7 hours ago

Naturally occurring arsenic in private wells threatens people in many U.S. states and parts of Canada, according to a package of a dozen scientific papers to be published next week. The studies, focused mainly ...

Planck: Gravitational waves remain elusive

8 hours ago

Despite earlier reports of a possible detection, a joint analysis of data from ESA's Planck satellite and the ground-based BICEP2 and Keck Array experiments has found no conclusive evidence of primordial ...

Evidence mounts for quantum criticality theory

9 hours ago

A new study by a team of physicists at Rice University, Zhejiang University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Florida State University and the Max Planck Institute adds to the growing body of evidence supporting ...

Recommended for you

Super Bowl athletes are scientists at work

14 hours ago

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman gets called a lot of things. He calls himself the greatest cornerback in the NFL (and Seattle fans tend to agree). Sportswriters and some other players call him ...

Sundance doc examines real-life Close Encounter

Jan 29, 2015

Earth authorities are completely unprepared for the arrival of alien visitors and worried humans should ready themselves by watching a groundbreaking documentary, the film's director boasts.

Toward a scientific process freed from systemic bias

Jan 26, 2015

Research on how science works - the science of science - can benefit from studying the digital traces generated during the research process, such as peer-reviewed publications. This type of research is crucial for the future ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.