Submitted to: Bioscience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2008
Publication Date: 3/1/2009
Citation: Tranel, P.J., Horvath, D.P. 2009. Molecular Biology and Genomics: New Tools for Weed Science. Bioscience. 59:207-215.
Interpretive Summary: This paper is a review of the use of modern molecular and genomics techniques being used to answer fundamental questions of interest to weed scientists. Subjects including the use of molecular techniques to identify and characterize herbicide resistance are covered. Also covered is the specific availability and use of genomics techniques and tolls such as microarrays and EST databases for understanding physiological and developmental processes that impact a plant's weediness.
Technical Abstract: Certain plant species are particularly well adapted to environments disturbed by humans. Often such species are invasive and problematic, and thus are classified as weeds. Despite our best efforts to control weeds, they continue to interfere with crop production. Clearly there is much to learn about weeds that could be used both to assist in their control, and to improve competitiveness in non-weedy species. In our ongoing efforts to control weeds, the tools of molecular biology have been enlisted; most apparent is in the development and commercialization of crop plants tailored to resist certain herbicides. Molecular biology also has been used to better understand how weeds compete and interact with neighboring plants, survive harsh environmental conditions, and evolve resistance to the herbicides being used to control them. The next generation of molecular biology tools, e.g., genomic resources, may yield novel weed control strategies and uncover new secrets about what makes plants weedy.