Applications for molecular biology in weed management

N.G. Paltridge, CRC for Weed Management Systems and the Department of Plant Science, The University of Adelaide, Waite Campus, Glen Osmond, South Australia 5064, Australia.


The purpose of this review is to outline the potential of molecular approaches and techniques to make new contributions in the general field of weed management. Firstly, different approaches through which improved weed control might be attained are identified. These encompass methods for improved chemical, ecological and biological control, and the development of a better understanding of problems in weed management. The technology developed by molecular biologists and relevant to weed management is then identified. Techniques described include those for molecular genetic analysis, for the discovery and isolation of genes of interest, for genetic transformation and for introducing 'suicide' genes into plants of interest. Finally, areas where molecular biology could contribute further to weed management in future are identified. Strategies explored include the development of improved herbicides and herbicide resistant crops, more competitive crops, and more effective biocontrol agents. It is concluded that herbicide-based approaches are of continuing importance, but that future research efforts should also focus on preventing the escape of herbicide resistance genes and on the development of more competitive crop plants.


Plant Protection Quarterly (2000) 15 (2) 50-56.