Professor Gina Baucom was awarded a $500,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture for her project titled "Genetic and ecological mechanisms underlying the evolution of herbicide resistance in the common morning glory, Ipomoea purpurea." The three-year grant began January 1, 2015.
Baucom’s co-principal investigator is Dr. Shu-Mei Chang, in the Plant Biology Department at the University of Georgia.
“The purpose of the grant is to determine if the same genetic basis underlies the repeated evolution of herbicide resistance across multiple populations collected from the southeastern and midwestern US,” Baucom said. “We will also be investigating the influence of the genetic background on the expression of fitness costs of resistance in nature.”
“The repeated evolution of herbicide resistance among separate populations of a weed provides both a unique opportunity to address the mechanisms of evolutionary repeatability as well as a significant challenge to weed control efforts,” states the project summary. "To determine if the repeated evolution of resistance is a result of genomic constraints or a response to similar regimes of selection, it is crucial that the genetic basis of resistance, the potential for contemporary gene flow between populations, and the influence of local adaptation of resistant lineages be examined in concert. Such information is also vital for designing useful control regimes. Here, we propose to empirically assess the genetic and ecological mechanisms underlying the repeated evolution of RoundUp resistance across populations of the noxious crop weed Ipomoea purpurea (common morning glory)."