The introduction of Clearfield technology allows the use of imidazolinone (IMI) herbicides to control weedy rice. Imidazolinone herbicides stop the acetolactate synthase (ALS) enzyme from synthesizing branched-chain amino acids, resulting in the death of the plant. Since the launch of Clearfield technology in Malaysia in 2010, many farmers have replaced traditional cultivars with Clearfield (CL) rice lines (MR220-CL1 and MR220-CL2). This technology was initially effective; however, in recent years, local farmers have reported the reduced efficacy of IMI herbicides in controlling the spread of weedy rice. Under IMI herbicide treatment, in previous weedy rice studies, the target-site resistance (TSR) mechanism of the ALS gene has been suggested as a key factor conferring herbicide resistance. In our study, a combination of ALS gene sequencing, enzyme colorimetric assay, and a genome-wide association study (GWAS) highlighted that a non-targetsite resistance (NTSR) can be an alternative molecular mechanism in IMI-resistant weedy rice. This is supported by a series of evidence, including a weak correlation between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the ALS exonic region and ALS enzyme activity. Our findings suggest that the adaptability of weedy rice in Clearfield rice fields can be more complicated than previously found in other rice strains.
- Clearfield rice
- Herbicide-resistant weedy rice
- Non-target-site resistance
- Target-site resistance