Taking Stock of Herbicide-Resistant Crops Ten Years After Introduction

Pest Manag Sci. 2005 Mar;61(3):211-8. doi: 10.1002/ps.1024.


Since transgenic, bromoxynil-resistant cotton and glufosinate-resistant canola were introduced in 1995, planting of transgenic herbicide-resistant crops has grown substantially, revolutionizing weed management where they have been available. Before 1995, several commercial herbicide-resistant crops were produced by biotechnology through selection for resistance in tissue culture. However, non-transgenic herbicide-resistant crops have had less commercial impact. Since the introduction of glyphosate-resistant soybean in 1996, and the subsequent introduction of other glyphosate-resistant crops, where available, they have taken a commanding share of the herbicide-resistant crop market, especially in soybean, cotton and canola. The high level of adoption of glyphosate-resistant crops by North American farmers has helped to significantly reduce the value of the remaining herbicide market. This has resulted in reduced investment in herbicide discovery, which may be problematic for addressing future weed-management problems. Introduction of herbicide-resistant crops that can be used with selective herbicides has apparently been hindered by the great success of glyphosate-resistant crops. Evolution of glyphosate-resistant weeds and movement of naturally resistant weed species into glyphosate-resistant crop fields will require increases in the use of other herbicides, but the speed with which these processes compromise the use of glyphosate alone is uncertain. The future of herbicide-resistant crops will be influenced by many factors, including alternative technologies, public opinion and weed resistance. Considering the relatively few recent approvals for field testing new herbicide-resistant crops and recent decisions not to grow glyphosate-resistant sugarbeet and wheat, the introduction and adoption of herbicide-resistant crops during the next 10 years is not likely to be as dramatic as in the past 10 years.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / history
  • Agriculture / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Agriculture / trends
  • Crops, Agricultural / drug effects*
  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics*
  • Crops, Agricultural / history
  • Drug Resistance / genetics
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Herbicides / pharmacology*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / drug effects*


  • Herbicides