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February 19th, 2018 / Science Daily, US

Scientists from the University of Sheffield have identified factors which are driving the evolution of herbicide resistance in crops — something which could also have an impact on medicine as well as agriculture.

Xenobiotic chemicals, such as herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and antibiotics, are used in both agriculture and healthcare to manage pests and diseases. However, resistance has evolved to all these types of xenobiotics, rendering them ineffective with serious consequences for crop production and health.

The new study, led by researchers from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences in collaboration with Rothamsted Research and the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, gives an important insight into how we can learn from past management of agricultural systems to reduce the likelihood of resistance evolving in the future.

The research offer important insights into diversifying management which is suggested as a possible technique for reducing the evolution of resistance. The study showed the technique will work to reduce resistance only if farmers reduce their inputs of herbicides. If they continue to use the same levels of herbicides or even increase their input, then this technique will not work. Read more