Biotech Updates

Diagnostic Kit for Potato Cyst Nematode Detection

August 26, 2011

A diagnostic test has been developed by a molecular biologist of the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to identify potato cyst nematode (PCN) infestation. By cloning and sequencing key genes, Xiaohong Wang improved on traditional methods of distinguishing PCN species that are time consuming and require large samples of nematode cysts. Being more sensitive than other systems, the diagnostic test is expected to be widely used in regulatory and quarantine programs.

The team headed by Wang cloned the parasitism gene known as chorismate mutase which is involved in the infection process. They were able to identify unique regions in the nematode's DNA in each of the sequences studied using a probe. Details of the process are described in an article in the European Journal of Plant Pathology.

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