Genomic approaches are opening avenues for understanding all aspects of biological life, especially as they begin to be applied to multiple individuals and populations. However, these approaches typically depend on the availability of a sequenced genome for the species of interest. While the number of genomes being sequenced is exploding, one group that has lagged behind are weeds. Although the power of genomic approaches for weed science has been recognized, what is needed to implement these approaches is unfamiliar to many weed scientists. In this review we attempt to address this problem by providing a primer on genome sequencing and provide examples of how genomics can help answer key questions in weed science such as: (1) Where do agricultural weeds come from; (2) what genes underlie herbicide resistance; and, more speculatively, (3) can we alter weed populations to make them easier to control? This review is intended as an introduction to orient weed scientists who are thinking about initiating genome sequencing projects to better understand weed populations, to highlight recent publications that illustrate the potential for these methods, and to provide direction to key tools and literature that will facilitate the development and execution of weed genomic projects.
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