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Title: The History of the USDA Nematology Laboratory and the USDA Nematode Collection

item Chitwood, David
item Handoo, Zafar

Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/3/2008
Publication Date: 4/8/2008
Citation: Chitwood, D.J., Handoo, Z.A. 2008. The history of the USDA Nematology Laboratory and the USDA Nematode Collection [abstract]. Abstracts, Plant Parasitic Nematodes: Biodiversity, Study, Collections. p. 7.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The beginning of the Nematology program within the United States Department of Agriculture began 101 years ago, when Nathan Augustus Cobb, the Father of North American Nematology, was hired by the USDA. The present Nematology Laboratory within the USDA Agricultural Research Service is the direct descendent of the program begun by Cobb in Washington, D.C. Some of the true pioneers in North American Nematology were hired by Cobb, including Edna Buhrer, Gotthold Steiner, Jesse Christie, and Benjamin Chitwood. In addition, other nematologists employed by USDA to work in distant U.S. locations, such as Gerald Thorne, directly reported to Cobb. After Cobb’s death in 1932, Gotthold Steiner assumed the leadership of the program and managed its move to Beltsville, Maryland, in 1940. As the science of Nematology thrived in the United States in the 1940s-1960s, several prominent nematologists were housed at the Beltsville facility, including Albert Taylor, Victor Dropkin, Richard Sayre, Burton Endo, William Nickle and A. Morgan Golden. The latter established the USDA Nematode Collection in 1960. Including over 40,000 entries, the USDANC is one of the largest and most valuable international resources of information for nematode taxonomic research and identification. Widely used by U.S. and foreign scientists to resolve problems in nematode systematics, the Collection also includes data on nematode hosts, occurrence, and distribution. The records of the Collection are accessible via the Internet at