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Crop Biotech Update

Bacterial Gene Expressed in Alfalfa Leads to Glyphosate Resistance

June 25, 2014

Glyphosate is the most utilized herbicide worldwide and have been used since the 1970s. Introduction of transgenic glyphosate resistant crop plants allowed over-the-top application of the herbicide without crop damage. Glyphosate herbicide resistance in transgenic plants is developed by overexpressing the EPSPS gene. However, a new strategy for developing glyphosate resistance is being studied. This new strategy is based on the ability of the plant to degrade glyphosate.

Transgenic alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) were developed, all expressing a glycine oxidase (GO), a gene from Bacillus subtilis capable of degrading glyphosate. Transgenic plants were then evaluated for glyphosate resistance. Two GO-expressing lines showed moderate resistance to the herbicide. Optimization of expression of this GO variant may allow attainment of sufficient field resistance to glyphosate herbicides, thus providing a resistance based on herbicide degradation.

To learn more on this new strategy on developing glyphosate resistant crops, please visit