Identification of resistant clones of Eurasian (Myriophyllum spicatum) and hybrid (Myriophyllum spicatum × Myriophyllum sibiricum) watermilfoil to an operational rate of fluridone.
Genetic assays to identify herbicide-resistant plants are a promising tool to reduce herbicide failures. However, the genetic basis of herbicide resistance is frequently unknown. In clonal weed species, DNA fingerprinting could be a useful tool to identify known resistant versus susceptible genets (clones) that occur in multiple locations, without an immediate need for understanding the genetic mutation(s) conferring resistance. Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum L.) and hybrids with native northern watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum × Myriophyllum sibiricum Kom.) are mostly clonal invasive aquatic plants, and the same clones can be found in multiple waterbodies. Previously, a clone was confirmed as resistant to the commonly used herbicide fluridone, and a recent genetic survey in Michigan identified this genotype (MG-237) in at least seven other lakes. We hypothesized that MG-237 collected from different lakes would also exhibit fluridone resistance. However, MG-237 may have accumulated resistance mutations at different times during its spread across Michigan, resulting in fluridone-resistant and fluridone-susceptible MG-237 clones distributed in different lakes. We used a herbicide assay to test the response of several accessions, including MG-237 accessions from multiple lakes, to the Michigan operational rate of 6 µg L-1 fluridone. We found that all accessions of MG-237 exhibited resistance to 6 µg L-1 fluridone. A second genotype (MG-377) was also resistant to 6 µg L-1 fluridone. The rest of the accessions were found to be significantly injured by 6 µg L-1 fluridone. Our results suggest that 6 µg L-1 fluridone would not effectively control waterbodies dominated by MG-237 or MG-377, whereas waterbodies dominated by the other genotypes in our study would likely be controlled. Although more studies are needed to identify the variation in sensitivity of the accessions tested here and the genetic basis of fluridone resistance in Myriophyllum, our results suggest that multilocus genotype data may be an effective tool to identify and track herbicide-resistant genotypes of Myriophyllum in the short term.