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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Nov 23;107(47):20240-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1013154107. Epub 2010 Nov 8.

Robust crop resistance to broadleaf and grass herbicides provided by aryloxyalkanoate dioxygenase transgenes.

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  • 1Research and Development, Dow AgroSciences LLC, Indianapolis, IN 46268, USA.


Engineered glyphosate resistance is the most widely adopted genetically modified trait in agriculture, gaining widespread acceptance by providing a simple robust weed control system. However, extensive and sustained use of glyphosate as a sole weed control mechanism has led to field selection for glyphosate-resistant weeds and has induced significant population shifts to weeds with inherent tolerance to glyphosate. Additional weed control mechanisms that can complement glyphosate-resistant crops are, therefore, urgently needed. 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) is an effective low-cost, broad-spectrum herbicide that controls many of the weeds developing resistance to glyphosate. We investigated the substrate preferences of bacterial aryloxyalkanoate dioxygenase enzymes (AADs) that can effectively degrade 2,4-D and have found that some members of this class can act on other widely used herbicides in addition to their activity on 2,4-D. AAD-1 cleaves the aryloxyphenoxypropionate family of grass-active herbicides, and AAD-12 acts on pyridyloxyacetate auxin herbicides such as triclopyr and fluroxypyr. Maize plants transformed with an AAD-1 gene showed robust crop resistance to aryloxyphenoxypropionate herbicides over four generations and were also not injured by 2,4-D applications at any growth stage. Arabidopsis plants expressing AAD-12 were resistant to 2,4-D as well as triclopyr and fluroxypyr, and transgenic soybean plants expressing AAD-12 maintained field resistance to 2,4-D over five generations. These results show that single AAD transgenes can provide simultaneous resistance to a broad repertoire of agronomically important classes of herbicides, including 2,4-D, with utility in both monocot and dicot crops. These transgenes can help preserve the productivity and environmental benefits of herbicide-resistant crops.

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