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AHRIinsight #12 - Pollen flow of resistance genes

August 8, 2013

“It wasn't me, it was him!”

Many grain growers blame their neighbours for developing herbicide resistance. Growers often feel helpless! Regardless of how well you manage your weeds, unfortunately it is inevitable that you will inherit the resistance problem from your neighbour.

It is true that resistance genes can flow a long way in pollen. AHRI researcher Dr Roberto Busi demonstrated that ryegrass pollen can travel up to three kilometres. More research in the US has shown that gene flow via pollen varies between species, depending on the level of out crossing and pollen characteristics. It is no surprise that the resistance world champion weeds, annual ryegrass and Palmer amaranth (pigweed), have the ability to spread their genes far and wide in pollen.

In many cases, it is true that it is almost impossible to prevent resistance evolution due to this easy transfer of resistance genes. For this reason, grain growers should focus on managing the seed bank of resistant weeds and spend less time worrying about where the resistance came from.

For more of the story and further information on pollen flow, click here.

More news from: Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Website: http://www.ahri.uwa.edu.au/

Published: August 8, 2013

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