Guiping Yan and
Richard W. Smiley, Oregon State University, Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center, Pendleton 97801;
Patricia A. Okubara, United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Root Disease and Biological Control Research Unit, Pullman, WA 99164-6430; and
Andrea M. Skantar, USDA-ARS, Nematology Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705
Heterodera avenae and H. filipjevi are economically important cyst nematodes that restrict production of cereal crops in the Pacific Northwest United States and elsewhere in the world. Identification of these two species is critical for recommending and implementing effective management practices. Primers were designed from the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of H. avenae and H. filipjevi ribosomal DNA. The primers were highly specific when examined on target isolates but did not amplify DNA from nontarget Heterodera, Globodera, Meloidogyne, Pratylenchus, and other nematode species tested. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and amplification conditions were established, and H. avenae and H. filipjevi were clearly distinguished by PCR fragments of 242 and 170 bp, respectively. Robust PCR amplification was achieved with DNA extracted from a single egg or second-stage juvenile (J2) using a laboratory-made worm lysis buffer, and DNA from 0.5 egg or J2 using a commercial kit. The PCR assays were successfully employed for differentiation of H. filipjevi and H. avenae populations collected from eight locations in three Pacific Northwest states. This is the first report of a species-specific ITS PCR assay to detect and identify H. filipjevi. The assays for both species will enhance diagnosis of cereal cyst nematode species in infested fields.