20.2.5  Lessons to be learnt from herbicide resistance

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The information presented here establishes that major reliance on herbicides to manage weed populations can result in rapid evolution of resistance. Salutary lessons on the power of genetic diversity in ensuring survival of a species are learned from the rapid evolution of herbicide resistance in populations of L. rigidum. Successive waves of potent new herbicides eliminate most individuals while providing strong selective pressure for resistant individuals to arise. Indeed, they arise and spread in L. rigidum at alarming rates, generating a highly herbicide-resistant progeny that can potentially withstand herbicides yet to be discovered. Accelerated evolution of this kind can be identified at the gene and protein levels, illustrating the importance of single base pair and amino acid changes in generating new phenotypes.