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Keywords:

  • acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase (ACCase);
  • adaptation;
  • agricultural ecosystem;
  • Alopecurus myosuroides (black-grass);
  • anthropogenic selective pressure;
  • herbicide;
  • redundant evolution;
  • species’ geographical range

Summary

  • The geographical structure of resistance to herbicides inhibiting acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase (ACCase) was investigated in the weed Alopecurus myosuroides (black-grass) across its geographical range to gain insight into the process of plant adaptation in response to anthropogenic selective pressures occurring in agricultural ecosystems.
  • We analysed 297 populations distributed across six countries in A. myosuroides’ main area of occupancy. The frequencies of plants resistant to two broadly used ACCase inhibitors and of seven mutant, resistant ACCase alleles were assessed using bioassays and genotyping, respectively.
  • Most of the resistance was not endowed by mutant ACCase alleles. Resistance and ACCase allele distribution patterns were characterized by mosaicism. The prevalence of resistance and of ACCase alleles differed among countries.
  • Resistance clearly evolved by redundant evolution of a set of resistance alleles or genes, most of which remain unidentified. Resistance in A. myosuroides was shaped by variation in the herbicide selective pressure at both the individual field level and the national level.