Developing robust identification assays for Amaranthus palmeri in seed mixtures
Don Wyse, Agronomy & Plant Sciences
Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) is a weedy annual originally native to the southwestern US and northern Mexico. It can grow several inches in a day, and a single plant can produce as many as one million seeds. In Minnesota, Palmer amaranth is regulated as a prohibited noxious weed. It was only recently introduced to the state via contaminated seed mixes used for conservation plantings.
This project aims to help regulators better identify Palmer-contaminated seed mixtures to protect agricultural lands. Researchers will develop a more efficient means of physically separating Amaranthus seeds from other types to drastically increase the volume of seed analysts can test overall. They will also produce a reliable, afforable DNA test for Palmer amaranth identification.
With the help of state partners like the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the resulting test protocol will provide a strong basis for a proactive seed certification program.
- How can analysts efficiently separate amaranth seeds from other seed types in a mix for a pure sample prior to molecular analysis?
- Can existing DNA markers of Palmer amaranth be validated for implementation in a reliably accurate genetic test?
- What additional DNA markers can be used to increase the accuracy of a positive identification of Palmer amaranth?
The tests developed by this research will be used to screen for Palmer amaranth in imported seed mixes. Should these tests be adopted widely by the state of Minnesota, they have the potential to greatly reduce the number of Palmer introduction events and ultimately protect the state’s environment and agricultural industries. This work will also provide a foundation or “blueprint” for developing similar tests for the detection of other noxious weeds in seed mixes.
Colorado State University, Kansas State University, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Crop Improvement Association
Don Wyse, principal investigator
Anthony Brusa, post-doctoral associate
Jeff Gunsolus, co-investigator
Peter Morrell, co-investigator