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Development of a One-Step Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay for Diagnosis of Phytophthora ramorum

September 2006 , Volume 96 , Number  9
Pages  975 - 981

Kelvin J. D. Hughes , Jennifer A. Tomlinson , Ruth L. Griffin , Neil Boonham , Alan J. Inman , and Charles R. Lane

Central Science Laboratory, Sand Hutton, York, North Yorkshire, YO41 1LZ, U.K.

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Accepted for publication 1 April 2006.

Phytophthora ramorum is a recently described pathogen causing bleeding cankers, dieback, and leaf blight on trees and shrubs in parts of Europe and North America, where the disease is commonly known as sudden oak death. This article describes the development of a single-round real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay based on TaqMan chemistry, designed within the internal transcribed spacer 1 region of the nuclear ribosomal (nr)RNA gene for detection of P. ramorum in plant material. Unlike previously described methods for the molecular detection of P. ramorum, this assay involves no post amplification steps or multiple rounds of PCR. The assay was found to have a limit of detection of 10 pg of P. ramorum DNA, and could detect P. ramorum in plant material containing 1% infected material by weight within 36 cycles of PCR. The assay also was used to test DNA from 28 other Phytophthora spp. to establish its specificity for P. ramorum. A quick and simple method was used to extract DNA directly from host plant material, and detection of P. ramorum was carried out in multiplex with an assay for a gene from the host plant in order to demonstrate whether amplifiable DNA had been extracted. Amplifiable DNA was extracted from 84.4% of samples, as demonstrated by amplification of host plant DNA. The real-time protocol was used to test 320 plant samples (from 19 different plant species) from which DNA extraction had been successful, and was shown to give results comparable with a traditional isolation technique for diagnosis of P. ramorum in plant material from common U.K. hosts.

Additional keywords: rhododendron, viburnum.

© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society