1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
1) Develop new diagnostic methods for efficient and well-resolved microscopic images of plant-parasitic nematodes. 2) Expand taxonomic representation for existing DNA markers and evaluate new ones to determine the most reliable regions for nematode identification and phylogeny. 3) Determine nematode identities for unknown or emerging agroecological problems involving nematodes for APHIS personnel, state diagnosticians, and ARS and other researchers.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
1) Advanced microscopy techniques will reveal more detailed features and increase consistency of nematode description for improved diagnosis of described and undescribed nematodes that may damage agriculturally important plants. 2) Expanding ribosomal and Hsp90 gene sequences to more species beyond the relative handful in GenBank, compared to the many known number of morphospecies, will produce more informative family trees that will demonstrate the distribution of plant parasitism for improved pathology prediction. 3) In the process of characterizing new nematode samples, any plant-parasitic or agriculturally important nematode obtained from a customer may be a new species unknown to science or an existing species not known to be present in the United States, another country, a state or a given host.
3. Progress Report:
This project began on March 22, 2012 as a progression from project # 1275-22000-249-00D. Building the USDA Nematode Collection. The researchers and extension personnel that identify nematodes need a source of nematode reference specimens to assure that identifications are accurate. The USDA Nematode Collection at Beltsville, Maryland, is the most important repository of nematode reference specimens in the world. Curatorial services and maintenance are constantly needed to improve the quality and breadth of the Collection. Therefore, scientists at the Nematology Laboratory added 228 slides and vials from worldwide sources to create a total collection of 44,458 slides and vials, and entered 195 records of specimens into the computerized database, bringing it to a total of 38,599 records. Nematologists throughout the world are using the specimens and related information in the Collection as essential aids in nematode identification, regulation and research.