Central Science Laboratory, Sand Hutton, York, YO41 1LZ, United Kingdom
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Accepted for publication 20 January 2000.
Tobacco rattle virus (TRV) and Potato mop top virus (PMTV) are important diseases of potato that are difficult to diagnose reliably by visual symptoms. Effective control strategies rely on accurate diagnosis. This paper describes the development of a multiplex assay for the detection of TRV and PMTV directly from potato tubers and leaves by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) combined with in-tube fluorescent product detection (TaqMan). This technology obviates any post-PCR manipulations and has many advantages including reducing contamination risks, eliminating the need for ethidium bromide staining, and removing the time and cost of gel running. The new assay also allows the replacement of the two separate tests (a TRV reverse-transcription-PCR and a PMTV enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay) currently used with a single-tube multiplex format. In addition to greatly simplifying the detection of these two viruses, the multiplex TaqMan assay was also shown to be more sensitive than either of the tests that it replaces, allowing 100- and 10,000-fold increases in sensitivity for TRV and PMTV detection, respectively. The test reliably detected over 40 different isolates of TRV and PMTV obtained from a wide range of different cultivars and geographical locations, including some samples in which existing tests failed to detect virus. The use of an assay of this kind in routine diagnosis helps to speed up and streamline the diagnostic laboratory; in addition, more reliable diagnosis should help in the control of this damaging disease.
© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society