The rise of superweeds

anthropogen

Here’s a snippet and link to an article from the Guardian about how modern agricultural herbicides are effectively acting as a eugenics program for unwanted plants, killing off weak “weeds”, selecting for the strong and leaving farmers’ fields with round-up ready food crops competing against a new generation of unintended round-up ready superweeds.

(From the Guardian) When Monsanto revolutionised agriculture with a line of genetically engineered seeds, the promise was that the technology would lower herbicide use – because farmers would have to spray less. In fact, as Washington State University researcher Chuch Benbrook has shown, just the opposite happened.

Sixteen years on, Roundup (Monsanto’s tradename for its glyphosate herbicide) has certainly killed lots of weeds. But the ones it has left standing are about as resistant to herbicide as the company’s Roundup Ready crops, which are designed to survive repeated applications of the agribusiness giant’s own Roundup herbicide.

For…

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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