Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 21, 2010
Publication Date: January 28, 2010
Citation: Berner, D.K. 2010. BLUP, a new paradigm in host-range determination. Biological Control. 53:143-152. Interpretive Summary: Host range evaluation of candidate biological control agents is necessary to determine the safety (host range) of the biological control agent prior to release in an area where it is not already present. Recently a new approach combining data on the effects of an agent on plant species with the genetic relationships among the plant species was developed. The approach generates best linear unbiased predictors (BLUPs) of the effects on plant species related to the biological control target plant. However, biological control researchers may be unfamiliar with the methodology and are possibly uncomfortable with the approach, since BLUPs are possible even for species which are not directly tested. In this paper, the uses and advantages of BLUPs in host-range determination are clarified. The results are valuable for potential applications of BLUPs for using biological control agent.
Technical Abstract: Recently best linear unbiased predictors (BLUPs) were used to determine the probable host-range of two plant pathogens proposed for classical biological control of Russian thistle. BLUPs were derived with mixed model equations incorporating disease ratings and relationship matrices computed from genetic (DNA) distances among plant species related to Russian thistle. For both pathogens, BLUPs were found superior to least squares estimates of disease severity and were better at delimiting the probable host-range of the pathogens among related species. Although previous work focused on evaluating disease severity on related plant species, this methodology can be used with any biological weed control agent as long as the evaluation criterion is quantitative or can be transformed to quantitative values. However, biological control researchers may be unfamiliar with the methodology and are possibly uncomfortable with the approach, since BLUPs are possible even for species which are not directly tested. In this paper, the uses and advantages of BLUPs in host-range determination are clarified.