Stephen O. Duke
Stephen B. Powles
University of Western Australia
Glyphosate-resistant (GR) crops represent more than 80% of the 120 million ha of transgenic crops grown annually worldwide. GR crops have been rapidly adopted in soybean, maize, cotton, canola, and sugarbeet in large part because of the economic advantage of the technology, as well as the simple and superior weed control that glyphosate delivers. Furthermore, the GR crop/glyphosate technology is generally more environmentally benign than the weed management technologies that it replaced. In the Americas, except for Canada, adoption has meant continuous and intense selection pressure with glyphosate, resulting in evolution of GR weeds and shifts to weed species that are only partially controlled by glyphosate. This development is jeopardizing the benefits of this valuable technology. New transgenic crops with resistance to other herbicide classes—in some cases coupled with glyphosate resistance— will be introduced soon. If used wisely, these tools can be integrated into resistance management and prevention strategies. Greater diversity in weed management technologies is badly needed to preserve the utility of the GR crop/glyphosate technology.
Key words: Biotech crop, glyphosate, GMO, herbicide resistance, transgenic crop, weed.