Weed DNA breakthrough

Scientist David Gopurenko. Annual costs of Chilean needle grass exceed $120 per hectare. Photo supplied.

Scientist David Gopurenko. Annual costs of Chilean needle grass exceed $120 per hectare. Photo supplied.

Identification of DNA barcodes for serrated tussock and Chilean needle grass has delivered a new approach to better manage new incursions of two of Australia’s major invasive weeds. NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW) scientist, David Gopurenko, said identification of the DNA barcodes by a team of NSW DPI researchers will make it easier to distinguish the weeds from the native grasses. DNA barcoding gives us the opportunity to shortcut the traditional identification process.

Correct identification of invasive and native grasses is crucial in weed management misidentification can delay control of invasive weeds and could also lead to the unwanted eradication of desirable native grass. DNA barcoding can accurately identify species. Serrated tussock and Chilean needle grass cause significant damage to the Australian environment. Serrated tussock more than $40m in lost production, chilean needle grass exceeds $120 per hectare.