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Multiple allelic forms of acetohydroxyacid synthase are responsible for herbicide resistance in Setaria viridis

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In weed species, resistance to herbicides inhibiting acetohydroxyacid synthase (AHAS) is often conferred by genetic mutations at one of six codons in the AHAS gene. These mutations provide plants with various levels of resistance to different chemical classes of AHAS inhibitors. Five green foxtail [Setaria viridis (L.) Beauv.] populations were reported in Ontario with potential resistance to the AHAS-inhibiting herbicide imazethapyr. The objectives of this study were to confirm resistance, establish the resistance spectrum for each of the five populations, and determine its genetic basis. Dose response curves were generated for whole plant growth and enzyme activity, and the AHAS gene was sequenced. Resistance was confirmed by determining the resistance factor to imazethapyr in the five resistant green foxtail populations for whole plant dose response experiments (21- to 182-fold) and enzyme assays (15- to 260-fold). All five imazethapyr-resistant populations showed cross-resistance to nicosulfuron and flucarbazone while only three populations had cross-resistance to pyrithiobac. Sequence analyses revealed single base-pair mutations in the resistant populations of green foxtail. These mutations were coded for Thr, Asn, or Ile substitution at Ser653. In addition, a new mutation was found in one population that coded for an Asp substitution at Gly654. There is an agreement between the spectra of resistance observed and the type of resistance known to be conferred by these substitutions. Moreover, it indicates that, under similar selection pressure (imazethapyr), a variety of mutations can be selected for different populations, making the resistance pattern difficult to predict from herbicide exposure history.

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The authors thank Natural Science and Engineering Research Council for scholarship to Julie Laplante and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food for financial support through a grant to François J. Tardif. Peter Smith and Chris Grainger are warmly thanked for their expert technical help.

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Correspondence to François J. Tardif.

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Communicated by A. Schulman.

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Laplante, J., Rajcan, I. & Tardif, F.J. Multiple allelic forms of acetohydroxyacid synthase are responsible for herbicide resistance in Setaria viridis . Theor Appl Genet 119, 577–585 (2009).

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