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Leicester research paves way for first use in Europe of an insect to fight invasive plant
Date:7/30/2009

ed". The proposed organism has now satisfied the scientific community that the proposed release under licence would be both safe and beneficial to the environment. On July 23 2009 the government inaugurated a public consultation on the release, subject to the satisfactory conclusion of this process, approval should be granted for the first releases in April 2010.

"Early releases would be made only under licence, and would be closely monitored, with appropriate contingency plans in place. At the point that the organism is declared to be ordinarily resident, anybody may move it between knotweed sites. Given the fact that our Japanese knotweed is a single clone I feel we have excellent prospects for the specific and effective control of Japanese Knotweed in Britain. "

University of Leicester's role in breakthrough advance in fight against Japanese Knotweed

Work on Japanese Knotweed at the University of Leicester by Dr John Bailey, of the Department of Biology, started in the 1980s and after the award of a PhD on the subject in 1989, the research continued with the able assistance of PhD students Michelle Hollingsworth and Catherine Pashley.

The original work of Dr Bailey established that all the Japanese Knotweed in Britain was octoploid (88 chromosomes) and that only female plants occurred. Extensive hybridisation was observed to be taking place between Japanese Knotweed and both Giant Knotweed and Russian Vine. The hybrid between Japanese Knotweed and Giant Knotweed (Bohemian Knotweed) is now known to be an important and hitherto under-recorded component of Japanese Knotweed populations. Fortunately for the inhabitants of these Islands the hybrid between Japanese Knotweed and Russian Vine, although perfectly viable and established in some localities, does not combine the vigour of each parent rather they cancel each other out!

Michelle Hollingsworth's work took advantage of the newly emerging DNA Fingerprintin
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Contact: Dr. Bailey
jpb@le.ac.uk
01-162-523-386
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert  

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