SciComm - Effective Science Communication


Date of this Version


Document Type



Presented at SciComm 2016, Lincoln, Nebraska, September 24, 2016.


Copyright © 2016 Melinda Yerka


Outline •Crop breeding technology •Regulation of crop technologies •Issues related to crop-to-weed gene flow •Need for landscape-level studies

GMO •Genetically Modified Organism •Most commercial traits facilitate crop production –Insect resistance (Btcorn) –Herbicide resistance (Roundup) •General scientific consensus that they are safe •Public concerns persist

GM…..Oh? •GMOs are regulated substances by USDA-APHIS –$80 to $150 million per genotype to get to market •USDA-APHIS: Which biotech traits do we regulate? •Commodity groups: Will we be regulated???

The special case of sorghum: Massive international development as a biofuel •Better drought tolerance than corn •Needs herbicide resistance to compete
Evolution of herbicide resistance in related weeds •Selective pressure •Crop-to-weed gene flow

Rationale for using data & tools in large-scale monitoring of weed resistance

Our many stakeholders… •Provide data to USDA-APHIS, industry, and commodity groups for reference when future technologies are released –First quantitative data on the relative rates of herbicide resistance evolution due to gene flow vs. herbicide selection in crop wild relatives