Skip to main content Accessibility help

Recurrent Sublethal-Dose Selection for Reduced Susceptibility of Palmer Amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) to Dicamba

  • Parsa Tehranchian (a1), Jason K. Norsworthy (a1), Stephen Powles (a2), Mohammad T. Bararpour (a1), Muthukumar V. Bagavathiannan (a3), Tom Barber (a4) and Robert C. Scott (a4)...


The management of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth has been a challenge in southern United States cropping systems. Registration of dicamba-resistant crops will provide an alternative management option to control herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth populations, particularly those having resistance to herbicide Groups 2, 3, 5, 9, 14, and 27. However, repeated use of sublethal doses of dicamba may lead to rapid evolution of herbicide resistance, especially in Palmer amaranth—a species with a strong tendency to evolve resistance. Therefore, selection experiments with dicamba were conducted on Palmer amaranth using sublethal doses. In the greenhouse, a known susceptible Palmer amaranth population was subjected to sublethal dicamba doses for three generations (P1–P3). Susceptibility of the individuals to dicamba was evaluated, and its susceptibility to 2,4-D was characterized. Based on the greenhouse study, following three generations of dicamba selection, the dose required to cause 50% mortality increased from 111 g ae ha−1 for parental individuals (P0) to 309 g ae ha−1 for the P3. Furthermore, reduced susceptibility of the P3 to 2,4-D was also evident. This research presents the first evidence that recurrent use of sublethal dicamba doses can lead to reduced susceptibility of Palmer amaranth to dicamba as well as 2,4-D. Here, we show that selection from sublethal dicamba doses has an important role in rapid evolution of Palmer amaranth with reduced susceptibility to auxin-type herbicides.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author’s E-mail:


Hide All

Current address of first author: Department of Plant Sciences, University of California at Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616.

Associate Editor for this paper: Ramon G. Leon, University of Florida



Hide All
Ahrens, WH, ed (1994) Dicamba. In Herbicide Handbook, 7th edn. Champaign, IL: Weed Science Society of America. 430 p
Ashworth, MB, Walsh, MJ, Flower, KC, Powles, SB (2016) Recurrent selection with reduced 2,4-D amine doses results in the rapid evolution of 2,4-D herbicide resistance in wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum L.). Pest Manag Sci 72:20912098
Burgos, NR, Kuk, YI, Talbert, RE (2001) Amaranthus palmeri resistance and differential tolerance of Amaranthus palmeri and Amaranthus hybridus to ALS-inhibitor herbicides. Pest Manag Sci 57:449457
Busi, R, Girotto, M, Powles, SB (2016) Response to low-dose herbicide selection in self-pollinated Avena fatua . Pest Manag Sci 72:603608
Busi, R, Neve, P, Powles, SB (2013) Evolved polygenic herbicide resistance in Lolium rigidum by low-dose herbicide selection within standing genetic variation. Evol Appl 6:231242
Busi, R, Powles, SB (2009) Evolution of glyphosate resistance in a Lolium rigidum population by glyphosate selection at sublethal doses. Heredity 103:318325
Busi, R, Powles, SB (2011) Reduced sensitivity to paraquat evolves under selection with low glyphosate doses in Lolium rigidum . Agron Sustain Dev 31:525531
Chang, FY, Vanden Born, WH (1971) Dicamba uptake, translocation, metabolism, and selectivity. Weed Sci 19:113117
Chapman, EJ, Estelle, M (2009) Mechanism of auxin-regulated gene expression in plants. Annu Rev Genet 43:265285
Gaines, TA, Lorentz, L, Figge, A, Herrmann, J, Maiwald, F, Ott, M, Han, H, Busi, R, Yu, Q, Powles, SB, Beffa, R (2014) RNA-Seq transcriptome analysis to identify genes involved in metabolism-based diclofop resistance in Lolium rigidum . Plant J 78:865876
Goggin, DE, Cawthray, GR, Powles, SB (2016) 2,4-D resistance in wild radish: reduced herbicide translocation via inhibition of cellular transport. J Exp Bot 67:32233235
Grabińska-Sota, E, Wiśniowska, E, Kalka, J (2003) Toxicity of selected synthetic auxines—2,4-D and MCPA derivatives to broad-leaved and cereal plants. Crop Prot 22:355360
Gressel, J (2009) Evolving understanding of the evolution of herbicide resistance. Pest Manag Sci 65:11641173
Grossmann, K (2010) Auxin herbicides: current status of mechanism and mode of action. Pest Manag Sci 66:113120
Heap, I (2016) The International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds. . Accessed: July 16, 2016
Jasieniuk, M, Morrison, IN, Brule-Babel, AL (1995) Inheritance of dicamba resistance in wild mustard (Brassica kaber). Weed Sci 43:192195
Kelley, KB, Lambert, KN, Hager, AG, Riechers, DE (2004) Quantitative expression analysis of GH3, a gene induced by plant growth regulator herbicides in soybean. J Agric Food Chem 52:474478
Kelley, KB, Riechers, DE (2007) Recent developments in auxin biology and new opportunities for auxinic herbicide research. Pestic Biochem Physiol 89:111
Kirby, C (1980) The hormone weed killers: a short history of their discovery and development. London Road, Croydon, UK: British Crop Protection Council. 55 p
Klingaman, TE, Oliver, LR (1994) Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) interference in soybeans (Glycine max). Weed Sci 42:523527
Koger, CH, Poston, DH, Reddy, KN (2004) Effect of glyphosate spray coverage on control of pitted morningglory (Ipomoea lacunosa). Weed Technol 18:124130
Lande, R (1983) The response to selection on major and minor mutations affecting a metrical trait. Heredity 50:4765
Macnair, MR (1991) Why the evolution of resistance to anthropogenic toxins normally involves major gene changes: the limits to natural selection. Genetica 84:213219
Mithila, J, Hall, JC, Johnson, WG, Kelley, KB, Riechers, DE (2011) Evolution of resistance to auxinic herbicides: historical perspectives, mechanisms of resistance, and implications for broadleaf weed management in agronomic crops. Weed Sci 59:445457
Neve, P, Powles, SB (2005) Recurrent selection with reduced herbicide rates results in the rapid evolution of herbicide resistance in Lolium rigidum . Theor Appl Genet 110:11541166
Neve, P, Vila-Aiub, MM, Roux, F (2009) Evolutionary-thinking in agricultural weed management. New Phytol 184:783793
Norsworthy, JK (2014) Repeated sublethal rates of glyphosate lead to decreased sensitivity in Palmer amaranth. Crop Manag DOI: 10.1094/CM-2012-0403-01-RS
Norsworthy, JK, Griffith, GM, Scott, RC, Smith, KL, Oliver, LR (2008) Confirmation and control of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) in Arkansas. Weed Technol 22:108113
Norsworthy, JK, Oliver, LR, Purcell, LC (1999) Diurnal leaf movement effects on spray interception and glyphosate efficacy. Weed Technol 13:466470
Norsworthy, JK, Ward, SM, Shaw, DR, Liewellyn, RS, Nichols, RL, Webster, TM, Bradley, KW, Frisvold, G, Powles, SB, Burgos, NR, Witt, WW, Barrett, M (2012) Reducing the risks of herbicide resistance: best management practices and recommendations. Weed Sci 60(Spec Issue): 3162
Orr, HA, Coyne, JA (1992) The genetics of adaptation: a reassessment. Am Nat 140:725742
Powles, SB, Yu, Q (2010) Evolution in action: plants resistant to herbicides. Annu Rev Plant Biol 61:317347
Preston, C, Belles, DS, Westra, PH, Nissen, SJ, Ward, SM (2009) Inheritance of resistance to the auxinic herbicide dicamba in kochia (Kochia scoparia). Weed Sci 57:4347
Preston, C, Mallory-Smith, CA (2001) Biochemical mechanisms, inheritance, and molecular genetics of herbicide resistance in weeds. Pages 2360 in Powles SB, Shaner DL, eds. Herbicide Resistance in World Grains. Boca Raton, FL: CRC
Preston, C, Tardif, FJ, Christopher, JT, Powles, SB (1996) Multiple resistance to dissimilar herbicide chemistries in a biotype of Lolium rigidum due to enhanced activity of several herbicide degrading enzymes. Pest Biochem Physiol 54:123134
Romero-Puertas, MC, McCarthy, I, Gomez, M, Sandalio, LM, Corpas, FJ, Del Rio, LA, Palma, JM (2004) Reactive oxygen species-mediated enzymatic systems involved in the oxidative action of 2,4 dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. Plant Cell Environ 27:11351148
Sosnoskie, LM, Kichler, JM, Wallace, RD, Culpepper, AS (2011) Multiple resistance in Palmer amaranth to glyphosate and pyrithiobac confirmed in Georgia. Weed Sci 59:321325
Sosnoskie, LM, Webster, TM, Culpepper, AS (2007) Palmer Amaranth Pollen Viability. Accessed: July16, 2016
Sosnoskie, LM, Webster, TM, Kichler, JM, MacRae, AW, Grey, TL, Culpepper, AS (2012) Pollen-mediated dispersal of glyphosate-resistance in Palmer amaranth under field conditions. Weed Sci 60:366373
Steckel, LE (2007) The dioecious Amaranthus spp.: here to stay. Weed Technol 21:567570
Sterling, TM, Hall, JC (1997) Mechanism of action of natural auxins and auxinic herbicides. Pages 111141 in Roe RM, Burton JD, Kuhr RJ, eds. Herbicide Activity: Toxicology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Amsterdam: IOS Press
Subramanian, MV, Tuckey, J, Patel, B, Jensen, PJ (1997) Engineering dicamba selectivity in crops: a search for appropriate degradative enzymes. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 19:344349
Taylor, SG, Baltensperger, DD, Quesenberry, KH (1989) Recurrent half-sib family selection for 2,4-D tolerance in red clover. Crop Sci 29:11091114
Yu, Q, Powles, SB (2014) Metabolism-based herbicide resistance and cross-resistance in crop weeds: a threat to herbicide sustainability and global crop production. Plant Physiol 166:11061118


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Tehranchian supplementary material
Tehranchian supplementary material 1

 Word (86 KB)
86 KB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed