Novel genetically modified crops resistant to environmental friendly herbicides.Weeds are considered to be one of the major causes for crop losses by farmers. It is estimated that weeds cause an overall 12% reduction in crop yields or $33 billion in lost crop annually. With the advent of biotechnology, several genetically modified (GM) crops were developed that are insect-resistant or herbicide-tolerant - to make pest and weed control easier for farmers. The major trait sought in GM crops is herbicide tolerance as one component of the weed management system. However, use of herbicide resistant crop does not fully protect from weeds, since herbicide-resistant weeds appear and propagate. The appearance of herbicide resistant weeds warrants the development of novel herbicide-tolerant crops. The present technology provides a method for introducing into plants the artificial resistance toward herbicide amino acids, which are not toxic to humans.
- Conferring to transgenic plants resistance to the presence of phytotoxic non-protein amino acids.
- Herbicide tolerance to meta-tyrosine can be expanded into different types of crops such as wheat, cotton, alfalfa, etc.
- Development of additional non-protein herbicidal amino acids and crops resistant to these compounds.
- Weed control can be performed with non-hazardous, environment-friendly herbicides.
- Genetically-modified resistant crops enable the use of non-selective herbicides, allowing for more robust weed management.
The method is based on incorporation into the plants organelles (mitochondria and chloroplast) bacterial aaRS possessing editing activity toward a given toxic amino acid (aaRS in organelles usually lack such activity). As a proof-of-concept, a genetically modified Arabidopsis thaliana was created, capable of growing in the presence of exogenous meta-tyrosine (a known herbicide) at concentrations that have a deleterious effect on unmodified plant. However, the method is not limited to Arabidopsis thaliana or to m-tyr amino acid only.