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Integration of DNA-based diagnostics with air samplers in a country-wide sampling network for plant disease forecasting.

Malgorzata Jedryczka: Institute of Plant Genetics, Polish Academy of Sciences

<div>The dispersal of spores of fungal plant pathogens can be nowadays studied with various techniques, primarily with volumetric air samplers. These devices help to identify the pathogens present in the spore form in certain areas and time. Additionally, they allow to measure their quantity, which enables comparison of values between different sites. However, the spore counts are time and labour consuming and the similarity of spores across fungal species or even numerous fungal genera, makes these comparisons and calculations ambiguous or even unreliable. Recent advances in the DNA-based diagnostics combined with spore sampling help to fill this gap. Novel techniques, such as qPCR allow precise identification of pathogens. Moreover, they allow to identify not only the exact genus and species, but also subspecies, race, special form, chemotype or a form which is resistant to certain chemical compound present in fungicides, provided a genetic modification of this form (deletion, SNP, indel, mutation) has been previously recognized. There are several examples of successful identification of genetic variants present in spores bearing certain virulence genes, that can break the resistance of susceptible plant cultivars. In Poland, DNA-based diagnostics combined with the spore capture by a network of air samplers has been successfully used since 2004 in a country-wide disease forecasting of stem canker of oilseed rape (<span lang="PL"><a href=""><span lang="EN-US"></span></a></span>) and, to some extent, in Fusarium Head Blight (<span lang="PL"><a href=""><span lang="EN-US"></span></a></span><span>). Moreover, such solutions can be also used nowadays in modern allergology to inspect the sources of spores carrying compounds that can cause inhalatory allergies. </span></div>

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