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Direct competition for resources is generally considered the primary mechanism for weed-induced yield loss. A re-evaluation of physiological evidence suggests weeds initially impact crop growth and development through resource-independent interference. We suggest weed perception by crops induce a shift in crop development, before resources become limited, which ultimately reduce crop yield, even if weeds are subsequently removed. We present the mechanisms by which crops perceive and respond to weeds and discuss the technologies used to identify these mechanisms. These data lead to a fundamental paradigm shift in our understanding of how weeds reduce crop yield and suggest new research directions and opportunities to manipulate or engineer crops and cropping systems to reduce weedinduced yield losses.

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Trends in Plant Science

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This article has been contributed to by US Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.