Chapter 1 - Introduction: Herbicide Resistance
Genetically modified crops are the most rapidly adopted technology in agricultural history due to the social and economic benefits these crops may offer. Crops that are genetically altered to be tolerant to herbicide, followed by crops resistant to insects, were the first agricultural biotechnology inventions successfully commercially exploited worldwide.[add a comment]
Weeds are one of the major problems encountered in crop management. Weeds compete with crops for water and nutrients and, as a result, decrease farming yields and productivity. Given the harmful economic implications of poor weed management, it is hardly surprising that herbicide production is a main driver of the agrichemical industry.[add a comment]
Until the emergence of genetically modified crops, selective herbicides (herbicides that only kill a specific weed, so they may safely come into contact with a planted crop of a different species) dominated the market. The development of selective herbicides is not an easy task and for this reason only a few common weed species could be contained. Given that each weed requires a different herbicide, herbicide application was frequent, in large volumes and very costly.[add a comment]
The advent of herbicide resistant crops caused a major shake-up in the agrichemical industry. Demand for selective herbicides fell significantly. In certain countries, for the crops that have herbicide resistance available, herbicide-resistant crops are widely planted and otherwise non-selective (broad spectrum) herbicides are primarily used for weed management. Provided that the field crops are genetically modified to carry gene(s) for herbicide resistance, these broad-spectrum herbicides will not harm the crop. Broad-spectrum herbicides, such as glufosinate and glyphosate, are comparably biodegradable, display low levels of toxicity, and to date, weeds have shown minimal resistance to repeated applications.[add a comment]
Resistance to these broad-spectrum herbicides depends upon the genes that have been inserted into the crop plant. Following an introduction to herbicide resistance genetic modification practices, in Chapter 1, the rest of this technology landscape focuses primarily on the patent landscape surrounding the bar gene, which confers resistance to the broad-spectrum herbicide glufosinate.[add a comment]
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