New Zealand, Australia

Analysis of historical specimens determines single origin of Australian potato pest

Potato cyst nematodes (PCN) are quarantine soilborne pests that damage potatoes around the world, stunting plants and reducing yields. PCN results in losses of 9% of total potato production in Europe and can cause total losses in other regions of the world. reports on a recently published study by researcher Jacqueline Edwards and colleagues who used the PCN cyst reference collection held by Crop Health Services, Agriculture Victoria, to examine the genetic variability of Victorian PCN populations.

They discovered very little differentiation between the distinct PCN populations, suggesting a single localized introduction into Victoria followed by limited spread to nearby areas. They also discovered that Australian PCN appears genetically distinct from previous populations sampled worldwide.

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