Synthetic auxin herbicides: finding the lock and key to weed resistance

Olivia E. Todd, Marcelo R. A. Figueiredo, Sarah Morran, Neeta Soni, Christopher Preston, Martin F. Kubes, Richard Napier, Todd A. Gaines

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Synthetic auxin herbicides are designed to mimic indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), an integral plant hormone affecting cell growth, development, and tropism. In this review, we explore target site genes in the auxin signaling pathway including SCFTIR1/AFB, Aux/IAA, and ARFs that are confirmed or proposed mechanisms for weed resistance to synthetic auxin herbicides. Resistance to auxin herbicides by metabolism, either by enhanced cytochrome P450 detoxification or by loss of pro-herbicide activation, is a major non-target-site resistance pathway. We speculate about potential fitness costs of resistance due to effects of resistance-conferring mutations, provide insight into the role of polyploidy in synthetic auxin resistance evolution, and address the genetic resources available for weeds. This knowledge will be the key to unlock the long-standing questions as to which components of the auxin signaling pathway are most likely to have a role in resistance evolution. We propose that an ambitious research effort into synthetic auxin herbicide/target site interactions is needed to 1) explain why some synthetic auxin chemical families have activity on certain dicot plant families but not others and 2) fully elucidate target-site cross-resistance patterns among synthetic auxin chemical families to guide best practices for resistance management.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110631
Number of pages8
JournalPlant Science
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


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