Biotechnological Road Map for Innovative Weed Management

A. C. S. Wong, K. Massel, Y. Lam, J. Hintzsche and B. S. Chauhan,  Frontiers in Plant Science,  13. 2022.

In most agriculture farmlands, weed management is predominantly reliant on integrated weed management (IWM) strategies, such as herbicide application. However, the overuse and misuse of herbicides, coupled with the lack of novel active ingredients, has resulted in the uptrend of herbicide-resistant weeds globally. Moreover, weedy traits that contribute to weed seed bank persistence further exacerbate the challenges in weed management. Despite ongoing efforts in identifying and improving current weed management processes, the pressing need for novel control techniques in agricultural weed management should not be overlooked. The advent of CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing systems, coupled with the recent advances in “omics” and cheaper sequencing technologies, has brought into focus the potential of managing weeds in farmlands through direct genetic control approaches, but could be achieved stably or transiently. These approaches encompass a range of technologies that could potentially manipulate expression of key genes in weeds to reduce its fitness and competitiveness, or, by altering the crop to improve its competitiveness or herbicide tolerance. The push for reducing or circumventing the use of chemicals in farmlands has provided an added incentive to develop practical and feasible molecular approaches for weed management, although there are significant technical, practical, and regulatory challenges for utilizing these prospective molecular technologies in weed management.

More related to this: