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Oral: When Science and Politics Collide: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


The plant regulatory challenges caused by improved diagnostic techniques combined with globalization
D. Golino (1) (1) University of California, U.S.A.

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Modern diagnostic techniques, most notably high throughput sequencing (HTS), have had far reaching impacts on many aspects of plant regulatory activities around the globe. As the Director of Foundation Plant Services, a center in the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN), my staff and I have struggled to manage our activities in the face of an increasingly complex regulatory environment which often poses seemingly insurmountable barriers to the exchange of plant material between centers, between states, and between companies. The main focus of National Clean Plant Network activities is producing virus screened collections of Specialty Crops including berries, fruit and nut trees, grapevines, hops and roses. The discovery of new viruses in these crops by HTS and the subsequent development of robust polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for the newly discovered viruses is causing ripples throughout the distribution chain for important plant material which can be placed in limbo by the detection of previously undetected viruses in collections. In many cases, the biological significance of the virus is unknown and there may be many years between discovery and determination of pathogenicity; this is particularly true for the woody perennial crops which are managed in the NCPN network. Globalization adds its own challenges as information about discoveries moves quickly, often triggering regulatory actions that can stymie long established trade relationships.