Engineered cotton grows on alternative fertilizer

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

Wily weeds can develop resistance to herbicides, allowing them to compete with genetically modified crops designed to tolerate weed-killing chemicals. Now, a team is proposing another approach to genetically engineering crops to outwit weeds: cotton that feeds on an alternative fertilizer, one that weeds can’t use (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2018, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1804862115). The scientists haven’t yet tested the crops in actual fields, but they say if proven effective, their tactic may suppress weeds and prevent environmental pollution caused by overuse of the traditional fertilizer phosphate.

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