Weeds’ DNA now decoded

Battle against invasive weeds taken to genetic level by Wagga scientists

On Farm
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Identification of DNA barcodes for serrated tussock and Chilean needle grass has delivered a new approach to better manage new incursions of two of Australia’s major invasive weeds.

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NSW Department of Primary Industries scientists David Gopurenko and Hanwen Wu in the laboratory at Wagga Wagga.

NSW Department of Primary Industries scientists David Gopurenko and Hanwen Wu in the laboratory at Wagga Wagga.

IDENTIFICATION of DNA barcodes for serrated tussock and Chilean needle grass has delivered a new approach to better manage new incursions of two of Australia’s major invasive weeds.

NSW Primary Industries Department scientist, David Gopurenko, said identification of the DNA barcodes by NSW DPI researchers will make it easier to distinguish the weeds from the native grasses they grow alongside in eastern Australia.

“For the first time we have the potential to develop a timely and easy way to distinguish between invasive and native grasses at early growth stages,” Dr Gopurenko said.

“DNA barcoding gives us the opportunity to shortcut the traditional identification process, which usually requires examination of the plants’ flowers, which can only take place once the plant has reached maturity.

“Now we have the ability to better manage new incursions by identifying weeds before they mature, flower and become established,” he said.

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