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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Enhanced Alfalfa and Forage Productivity Through Molecular Detection and Characterization of Plant Nematodes

Location: Nematology Laboratory

Project Number: 1245-22000-284-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Dec 14, 2012
End Date: Dec 13, 2017

Objective:
Objective 1: Develop molecular methodologies for the identification and classification of alfalfa nematodes, needed to support diagnosticians and growers in making timely and accurate management decisions in response to nematode outbreaks, and to aid plant breeders in developing new nematode resistant cultivars. Objective 2: Identify and characterize nematodes found with endophytes of alfalfa, forage grasses, and weeds in order to discover novel associations with increased crop productivity or improved adaptability to arid sites.

Approach:
1. Nematodes that infect alfalfa and other forage legumes, grasses, rotation crops, or potential weed hosts will be identified using molecular markers including ribosomal, mitochondrial, Hsp90, and other nuclear genes. 2. New diagnostic assays, including RFLPs, and conventional or real-time PCR assays will be developed for Meloidogyne spp., Pratylenchus spp., Ditylenchus spp., or others affecting these plants. 3. Molecular information from the diagnostic work will be integrated with morphological data and information regarding biogeography, pathogenicity, and host range to generate new and improved phylogenetic schemes. 4. Molecular diagnostic tools to aid in screening resistant alfalfa germplasm will be developed to detect and quantify nematodes from infected alfalfa tissue. 5. Fungal-feeding nematodes and their associated fungal endophytes will be isolated from alfalfa, forage grasses, or weeds and identified and characterized by morphological and molecular methods. 6. Fungal-feeding nematodes will be cultured with fungal symbionts in lab cultures to determine suitability of endophytes to support nematode growth and reproduction.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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