Imazamox-resistant wheat varieties carry the Imi1 allele, which confers resistance to the imidazolinone (IMI) herbicide imazamox. This resistance trait allows the selective control of jointed goatgrass, a difficult-to-control winter annual grass weed. Allele movement between IMI-resistant wheat and jointed goatgrass may occur via hybridization and backcross events. Hybrids (F1) of IMI-resistant wheat and jointed goatgrass were identified in 2008 in a commercial wheat field in Eastern Oregon. In 2009 and 2010, surveys were conducted in Eastern Oregon to determine the prevalence of the Imi1 allele in wheat × jointed goatgrass hybrids. Using polymerase chain reaction assays we detected the presence of the Imi1 allele. A total of 128 sites were surveyed over the 2 yr. Of 1,548 plants sampled, 1,100 were positive for the Imi1 alelle and of those, 1,087 were heterozygous and 13 were homozygous for the allele. We assessed hybrid yield components and how these components varied across the sampled sites. The association between the proportion of IMI-resistant hybrids and the area or management practice in the commercial fields was determined. Nonagricultural sites or production of IMI-resistant wheat in consecutive years were two factors associated with a greater proportion of IMI-resistant hybrids. Our results demonstrate that the Imi1 allele is moving from IMI-resistant wheat to jointed goatgrass, producing resistant hybrids and backcross plants. This is the first report of natural occurrence of IMI-resistant backcross plants in commercial wheat fields. Therefore, it is important to implement field management practices that reduce IMI-resistant hybrid production and to effectively manage nonagricultural areas with jointed goatgrass infestations to prevent introgression of the IMI-resistance allele.
Nomenclature: Imazamox; jointed goatgrass, Aegilops cylindrica Host.; winter wheat, Triticum aestivum L.