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Sterile version of popular invasive weed developed

Researchers at the US University of Connecticut (Storrs) have developed a triploid, and therefore sterile, version of an ornamental plant, Euonymus elatus. The plant is classed as an invasive weed in 21 US states, including Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and on the “watch list” in several others. The plant has brilliantly coloured autumnal foliage and is a popular ornamental shrub in New England and the eastern seaboard. The development has been hailed as having “great economic and environmental significance”. The new plants were developed from regeneration of endosperm cells, a particularly difficult task in woody angiosperms, the researchers point out. They plan to patent the process used to generate the triploid plants, which could be used to produce sterile versions of other potentially invasive ornamental plants.

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