Meloidogyne arenaria is an economically important parasite of many crops worldwide. Identification and detection of this species in soil samples is necessary for the design of crop rotation systems, selection of resistant cultivars, and potential use of biological control options. The objective of this study was to develop and validate a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, using species-specific primers and SYBR Green I Dye, for identification of M. arenaria. The specificity of the assay was confirmed by testing for amplification of DNA from other Meloidogyne spp. and from M. arenaria populations of different geographic origins. Field soil samples containing a mixture of M. arenaria and M. incognita were used to compare identification by the real-time PCR assay with identification by esterase phenotype analysis of mature females and by morphometrics of juveniles. The real-time PCR assay provided an accurate and sensitive means for the identification of single juveniles from soil samples.
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