Novel Form of Herbicide Resistance in Various Plants using Gene Editing

Capable of generating resistance to synthetic auxin herbicides in crops

At a Glance

Researchers at Colorado State University in collaboration with the University of Adelaide have developed a novel method to produce herbicide resistance in various plants / crops using gene editing of the auxin co-receptor genes.  Methods and sequences to confer resistance are proprietary.


Auxin, mainly as indoleacetic acid (IAA), is an important plant hormone essential for plant growth and development. It also plays a key role in the response of plants to changes in their environment. A number of synthetic auxins are used as commercial herbicides, with 2,4-D being one of the first used dating back to 1945. These herbicides belong to several chemical families and can have varying efficacy across plant species. Herbicides lead to hyperaccumulation of ethylene, abscisic acid (ABA), and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The events cause stomatal closure, uncontrolled cell differentiation, and elongation visible through swelling, epinasty, leaf withering, and ultimately senescence.

The intensive use of synthetic auxin herbicides across the globe has resulted in the evolution of herbicide resistance in the target weeds. To date, 39 weed species have populations that have evolved resistance to one or more synthetic auxin herbicides. Two different mechanisms have been identified to synthetic auxin herbicides: enhanced herbicide metabolism and reduced translocation of the herbicide from the treated leaves.

Herbicide tolerant plants are useful in systems in which a plurality of such plants are planted, and can produce a crop, and either prior to planting, or after planting, an herbicide is applied that would otherwise kill or harm the plants but for their tolerance to the herbicide. Undesirable plants are killed or damaged, and the tolerant plants survive. There is a need to produce such plants.

Last Updated: November 2019
A field of cotton crop

Licensed March 2023

IP Status

PCT Patent: WO 2020/185907


Todd Gaines
Marcelo Rodrigues Alves de Figueiredo
Anita Küpper
Christopher Preston

Reference Number
Licensing Manager

Jessy McGowan