Gene technologies in weed management: a technical feasibility analysis

N. Kumaran, A. Choudhary, M. Legros, A. W. Sheppard, L. G. Barrett, D. M. Gardiner and S. Raghu,  Current Opinion in Insect Science,  38:6-14. 2020.

With the advent of new genetic technologies such as gene silencing and gene drive, efforts to develop additional management tools for weed management is gaining significant momentum. These technologies promise novel ways to develop sustainable weed control options because gene silencing can switch-off genes mediating adaptation (e.g. growth, herbicide resistance), and gene drive can be used to spread modified traits and to engineer wild populations with reduced fitness. However, applying gene silencing and/or gene drive is expected to be inherently complex as their application is constrained by several methodological and technological difficulties. In this review we explore the challenges of these technologies, and discuss strategies and resources accessible to accelerate the development of gene-tech based tools for weed management. We also highlight how gene technologies can be integrated into existing management tactics such as classical biological control, and their possible interactions.