Recent and rapid evolution of resistance to glyphosate, the most widely used herbicides, in several weed species, including common waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus), poses a serious threat to sustained crop production. We report that glyphosate resistance in A. tuberculatus was due to amplification of the 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-P synthase (EPSPS) gene, which encodes the molecular target of glyphosate. There was a positive correlation between EPSPS gene copies and its transcript expression. We analyzed the distribution of EPSPS copies in the genome of A. tuberculatus using fluorescence in situ hybridization on mitotic metaphase chromosomes and interphase nuclei. Fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis mapped the EPSPS gene to pericentromeric regions of two homologous chromosomes in glyphosate sensitive A. tuberculatus. In glyphosate-resistant plants, a cluster of EPSPS genes on the pericentromeric region on one pair of homologous chromosomes was detected. Intriguingly, two highly glyphosate-resistant plants harbored an additional chromosome with several EPSPS copies besides the native chromosome pair with EPSPS copies. These results suggest that the initial event of EPSPS gene duplication may have occurred because of unequal recombination mediated by repetitive DNA. Subsequently, gene amplification may have resulted via several other mechanisms, such as chromosomal rearrangements, deletion/insertion, transposon-mediated dispersion, or possibly by interspecific hybridization. This report illustrates the physical mapping of amplified EPSPS copies in A. tuberculatus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science