Scientists led by UK-based Rothamsted Reasearch say they have detected clear signs that reduced sensitivity to glyphosate is evolving in the field – but there is still time to change practices and avoid full resistance.
Researchers collected blackgrass seed and historic data on field management including glyphosate use from 132 farms across England. They grew and bred 16,000 seedlings in glasshouses and tested their response to glyphosate.
If glyphosate use continues escalating, it may only be a matter of time before resistance evolves
“We found that blackgrass populations with greater historic exposure to glyphosate are now the populations least sensitive to this chemical," said Dr Paul Neve, head of weed ecology and evolution research at Rothamsted. The plants were then found to inherit this low sensitivity from their parents – a key factor in pesticide resistance evolution.
“If glyphosate use continues escalating, it may only be a matter of time before resistance evolves," siad Dr Neve. "Glyphosate should be used judiciously in strategies that combine herbicide use with other cultural management practices that reduce selection for resistance.”
The results of the study were published in the journal New Phytologist.
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