Waterhemp is a Midwestern problem, Tranel said, but it's a member of the genus Amaranthus which includes weeds that are a problem worldwide such as pigweeds. "Because they all belong to the same genus, their genomes are very conserved. So if we have the sequence for the PPO gene in waterhemp you can use that information to get the PPO gene in redroot pigweed. It would be a similar sequence."
Having this information is like building a tool kit, said Tranel. "We're developing all of these resources and putting these resources in our freezer. When we have an interest in resistance to herbicide A which targets enzyme B, we can go to the freezer, or to the computer and get the sequence of the gene for that enzyme."
Tranel said that because waterhemp is in the group of amaranthus weeds, it's a good model for weed genomics. "A weed scientist in Georgia, where there's a lot of Palmer amaranth another pigweed evolving resistance, can go straight to that data base and get gene sequence data."
Another outcome of having this genomic data is to be able to design markers so you can fingerprint individual waterhemp plants and use that information to do population genetic studies.
"If you see herbicide resistance in northern Illinois and a year later you see the same resistance in a population in southern Illinois, one of the things you want to know in managing resistance is, did resistance evolve or occur here once and then a farmer moved a combine and that's how resistance got down here? Or did resistance occur here and independently down in southern Illinois?"
Understanding how the resistance occurred has
|Contact: Debra Levey Larson|
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign