herbicide tolerance | herbicide resistance
DEFINITION ability of a plant to remain unaffected by the application of a herbicide REFERENCE Zaid, A., Hughes, H. G., Porceddu, E., Nicholas, F. <I>Glossary of Biotechnology for Food and Agriculture - A Revised and Augmented Edition of the Glossary of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering</I>. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome 2001. http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/004/Y2775E/Y2775E00.HTM [29.3.2011]
COMMENT Herbicide resistance has been one of the early targets of plant genetic engineering. If a herbicide is sprayed onto a field planted with such resistant crops, then all the plants except the crop would be killed, thus providing an effective method of weed control without having to develop herbicides specific to each weed type. There is substantial concern in some quarters about the widespread use of this technology, which is essentially giving the plant kingdom the ability to evade man's most effective herbicides. The concern are that, firstly, such engineering will lead to increased use of the herbicides, at a time when it is generally accepted that the use of chemicals should be kept as low as possible, and that, secondly, there is the possibility that resistant crop plants will escape to become weeds, or that their resistant genes could be transferred to other species, including weeds.