An exploration of the evolutionary dynamics of non-target site herbicide resistance in Alopecurus myosuroides.

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Agriculture Food and Rural Development


Black-grass is the major weed threat in arable rotations in the UK with herbicides applied to an estimated 1 million hectares per annum for black-grass control. Resistance to one or more herbicides is estimated to occur on 80% of farms and up to 20% of wheat production in the UK is under threat due to inability to control black-grass. Non-target site resistance (NTSR) is the major, yet least understood mechanism of herbicide resistance. Neve and Edwards are co-I and PI, respectively on a BBSRC-funded LoLa project (2014-2018) that explores evolution and management of NTSR from 'gene to field'. The student's research will be closely integrated with this project.

The project will explore the evolutionary dynamics, quantitative genetics and genotype-phenotype map underlying non-target site herbicide resistance (NTSR) in Alopecurus myosuroides. The project will utilise seed populations previously generated by the PN lab. This material includes black-grass selection lines with known provenance and selection histories, a large set of pedigreed full-sib and half-sib seed families and an extensive collection of characterised, field-collected populations.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M016420/1 26/10/2015 25/10/2019
1635317 Studentship BB/M016420/1 02/11/2015 06/02/2020
Description I have established that a set of RNA biomarkers can be used to investigate herbicide metabolism in black-grass. Populations of black-grass collected from around the UK show different herbicide resistance profiles which are correlated with metabolism and RNA expression. I produced a set of F2 black-grass populations to investigate the inheritance of herbicide resistance traits; analysis of these lines has shown that different genetic backgrounds of resistant black-grass have a significant impact on the resistant phenotype in the F2 generation.
Exploitation Route Following the end of this project, it may be possible to use the highly characterised F2 lines to further explore various herbicide resistance traits in black-grass. Furthermore, the relationship between RNA biomarkers and herbicide metabolism could be taken on to the protein level and investigated to establish causation.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink

Description Rothamsted Research Festival of Ideas 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Rothamsted Research hosted an open weekend titled the "Festival of ideas", it's purpose was to inform the public about the work we do at the institute. Over 8000 people attended and the response to the weekend was overwhelmingly positive.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018