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Question

Are there any instances where superweeds have grown or developed because of GMO crops?

Submitted by: Christina Holmes


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Expert response from holmquist1x

Thursday, 07/12/2018 15:42

The term “superweeds” is the most commonly used slang for a weed that has become resistant to one or more herbicide mechanisms of action. In reality, there is no such thing called “super” about herbicide-resistant weeds. To remove this common misconception about superweeds, the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) in 2014 published a two-page fact sheet. This publication also clarifies the common myth of the development of superweeds because of GMO crops. There is no evidence to support the claim that gene transfer from the GMO crops to weeds is a leading factor in the development of herbicide resistance. The transfer of resistance traits from GMO crops to weeds is rare, and the observed and reported cases to date have had minimal impact. The problem of herbicide resistance is mainly because of overreliance on herbicides, not because of the GMO crops. The repeated and sole reliance on one herbicide mechanism of action can lead to the development of herbicide resistance in any field scenario. For instance, glyphosate-resistant kochia biotypes have primarily been documented from wheat-fallow fields throughout the U.S. Great Plains, where glyphosate had been repeatedly used over the years but there was no GMO crop planted.     

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