Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 7, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: A major impediment to the durability of nematode control agents has been a lack of understanding of basic nematode biology. Identification of potential nematode control targets is a slow process, often requiring painstaking isolation and characterization of important but rare molecules from small quantities of nematodes. Fortunately, recent advancements in nematode genetics have resulted from the application of powerful new strategies for identifying and characterizing important nematode genes. Research in the Nematology Lab at Beltsville Agricultural Research Center is dedicated to the adaptation of these technologies to soybean cyst nematode. One of the most vulnerable points in the life cycle of soybean cyst nematodes is the pre-infective juvenile (J2) stage. Nematodes at this stage remain in a developmentally arrested state until they locate and penetrate a host in which to mature and reproduce. Increasing our understanding of how SCN senses and responds to the environmental signals that influence development will benefit the initial design of control measures and our ability to efficiently adapt these agents to changes in target pest populations. Molecular biology-based methods are being applied for the identification of developmental arrest genes from SCN. In addition, methods for mechanically introducing DNA into plant-parasitic nematodes are being examined. This technology will facilitate examination of gene function inside the worm, the discovery of modulatory agents, and the development of ways to disrupt gene activity.