Tandem amplification of a chromosomal segment harboring 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase locus confers glyphosate resistance in Kochia scoparia

Recent rapid evolution and spread of resistance to the most extensively used herbicide, glyphosate, is a major threat to global crop production. Genetic mechanisms by which weeds evolve resistance to herbicides largely determine the level of resistance and the rate of evolution of resistance. In a previous study, we determined that glyphosate resistance in Kochia scoparia is due to the amplification of the 5-Enolpyruvylshikimate-3-Phosphate Synthase (EPSPS) gene, the enzyme target of glyphosate. Here, we investigated the genomic organization of the amplified EPSPS copies using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and extended DNA fiber (Fiber FISH) on K. scoparia chromosomes. In both glyphosate-resistant K. scoparia populations tested (GR1 and GR2), FISH results displayed a single and prominent hybridization site of the EPSPS gene localized on the distal end of one pair of homologous metaphase chromosomes compared with a faint hybridization site in glyphosate-susceptible samples (GS1 and GS2). Fiber FISH displayed 10 copies of the EPSPS gene (approximately 5 kb) arranged in tandem configuration approximately 40 to 70 kb apart, with one copy in an inverted orientation in GR2. In agreement with FISH results, segregation of EPSPS copies followed single-locus inheritance in GR1 population. This is the first report of tandem target gene amplification conferring field-evolved herbicide resistance in weed populations.

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