Source: University of Missouri

Thanks to the work of researchers at Dow AgroSciences, LLC, who have been collaborating with a University of Missouri researcher, a new weapon may be on the horizon to eliminate superweeds.

Zhanyuan Zhang, a research associate professor of plant sciences and director of the MU Plant Transformation Core facility, partnered with research scientists at Dow AgroSciences, LLC, to engineer soybean plants that can tolerate an alternative herbicide that may help slow the spread of superweeds, such as tall waterhemp.

Using a massive genetic database and a bioinformatic approach, Dow AgroSciences researchers identified two bacterial enzymes that, when transformed into plants, conferred resistance to an herbicide called "2,4-D," commonly used in controlling dandelions. The enzymes were successfully put into corn and soybean plants, and those new plants showed excellent resistance to 2,4-D, including no negative effects on yield or other agronomic traits. Other advantages of 2,4-D include low cost, short environmental persistence, and low toxicity to humans and wildlife.

Original news release