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Distribution of PPX2 Mutations Conferring PPO-Inhibitor Resistance in Palmer Amaranth Populations of Tennessee

  • J. Drake Copeland (a1), Darci A. Giacomini (a2), Patrick J. Tranel (a3), Garret B. Montgomery (a4) and Lawrence E. Steckel (a5)...


Protoporphyrinogen IX oxidase (PPO)–inhibiting herbicides (WSSA Group 14) have been used in agronomic row crops for over 50 yr. Broadleaf weeds, including glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth, have been controlled by this herbicide site of action PRE and POST. Recently, Palmer amaranth populations were reported resistant to PPO inhibitors in 2011 in Arkansas, in 2015 in Tennessee, and in 2016 in Illinois. Historically, the mechanism for this resistance involves the deletion of a glycine at position 210 (ΔG210) in a PPO enzyme encoded by the PPX2 gene; however, the ΔG210 deletion did not explain all PPO inhibitor–resistant Palmer amaranth in Tennessee populations. Recently, two new mutations within PPX2 (R128G, R128M) that confer resistance to PPO inhibitors were identified in Palmer amaranth. Therefore, research is needed to document the presence and distribution of the three known mutations that confer PPO inhibitor resistance in Tennessee. In 2017, a survey was conducted in 18 fields with Palmer amaranth to determine whether resistance existed and the prevalence of each known mutation in each field. Fomesafen was applied at 265 g ai ha–1 to Palmer amaranth infestations within each field to select for resistant weeds for later analysis. Where resistance was described (70% of surviving plants), the ΔG210 mutation was detected in 47% of resistant plants. The R128G mutation accounted for 42% of resistance, similar to the frequency of the ΔG210 mutation. The R128M mutation was less frequent than the other two mutations, accounting for only 10% of the resistance. All mutations detected in this study were heterozygous. Additionally, no more than one of the three PPX2 mutations were detected in an individual surviving plant. Similar to previous research, about 70% of PPO resistance was accounted for by these three known mutations, leaving about 30% of resistance not characterized in Tennessee populations. Survivors not showing the three known PPO mutations suggest that other resistance mechanisms are present.


Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Lawrence Steckel, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee, 605 Airways Boulevard, Jackson, TN 38301. (Email:


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Weed Technology
  • ISSN: 0890-037X
  • EISSN: 1550-2740
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