Invasive potential and control of Minnesota knotweed
Alan Smith, Horticultural Science
One of the largest vascular plants on earth is a single, female Japanese knotweed plant in the United Kingdom that has caused great environmental, economic and property damage despite control efforts of around $2 billion a year. Genetic analysis helped researchers there determine the single, clonal origin of their problem and how the plant was spreading asexually through the movement of stem and rhizome fragments.
MITPPC researchers will now also look to DNA for a better understanding of the invasive knotweed populations here in Minnesota. Researchers will focus on Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and giant knotweed (F. sachalinenesis), along with their hybrid Bohemian knotweed (F. x bohemica).
By way of a new, low-cost genetic analysis commonly used in human disease research, Smith’s team will determine the genetic diversity of Minnesota knotweed populations and identify any genes linked to invasive traits or herbicide tolerance.
What is the genetic diversity of knotweeds in Minnesota – what species and hybrids are in the population?
Are Minnesota knotweeds spreading asexually, through stem and rhizome propagation, or sexually, through seed reproduction?
What markers for herbicide sensitivity and tolerance will a genome-wide study of invasive traits reveal?
This work will help experts understand Minnesota’s emerging invasive knotweed population and how control strategies should match the plant’s evolution. External partners will help produce a guide to best practice management recommendations for the region based on the project’s findings.
Minnesota Master Gardeners, University of Silesia in Poland, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, TechLine News, Oregon State University, USDA, MNDOT, University of Canberra in Australia
Alan Smith, principal investigator
Neil Anderson, co-principal investigator
Roger Becker, co-principal investigator
Matthew Clark, co-principal investigator
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