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Main research question/goal
New molecular tests are developed and validated to reliably and routinely detect and quantify Heterodera species (nematodes) in soil samples or a crop’s root system. The genus Heterodera contains more than 60 cyst-forming nematode species, some of which cause considerable economic damage to cereals and beet, amongst others. The recommendation for breeders to control this pest depends strongly on the species and the number of individuals present in the field. The microscopic identification can only be done by specialists and is time-consuming.

Research approach
We apply commonly-used molecular techniques to identify and detect an organism (nematodes in this case): DNA extraction, DNA amplification, electrophoresis, DNA fragmentation (restriction enzymes), cloning and sequencing. We try to obtain RFLP patterns, DNA barcodes, species-specific PCR, and quantification using qPCR. Especially the ribosomal DNA (rDNA ITS region) is screened, but if sequence polymorphisms between closely related species is too limited or when DNA polymorphisms are present, other DNA parts are also examined.

The newly developed techniques can be used in projects for quick identification and quantification, for example to determine population densities in the field after the application of a control measurement. They are especially useful to diagnose soil samples. For example, to inform breeders about the Heterodera species and their numbers present in the field. This is linked to appropriate advice for control.

External partner(s)
Ankara University
Monsanto Co.
National Institute for Agronomic Research
Ugent - Fac. Bio-ingenieurswetenschappen
Effective start/end date1/03/0831/12/11

ID: 4162476