There’s a clear scientific consensus that heavy use of glyphosate -- the active ingredient in Roundup and other brands of herbicide -- has sped up the evolution of glyphosate-resistant weeds. And it’s reasonable to assume that crops genetically engineered to work hand in glove with glyphosate (like Roundup-resistant soy) are part of the problem, contributing to the popularity of the weed killer.
Now crops genetically engineered to work with other herbicides -- such as dicamba and 2,4-D -- look like they will soon come on line. The seed companies' answer to the Roundup-resistance problem is: Let's just fall back on older herbicides. An editorial published by the journal Nature recently criticized this plan. If we do the same thing with dicamba and 2,4-D that we did with glyphosate, the editorial argued, history is likely to repeat itself.
This got me wondering what we should do, then, so I started calling weed scientists. I ended up talking with three from around the country. They all agreed on the basic premise.