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Annu Rev Phytopathol. 1999;37:81-125.

THE THREE DS OF PCR-BASED GENOMIC ANALYSIS OF PHYTOBACTERIA: Diversity, Detection, and Disease Diagnosis.

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1
Department Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695: e-mail, frank_louws@ncsu.edu.

Abstract

The advent of molecular biology in general and the polymerase chain reaction in particular have greatly facilitated genomic analyses of microorganisms, provide enhanced capability to characterize and classify strains, and facilitate research to assess the genetic diversity of populations. The diversity of large populations can be assessed in a relatively efficient manner using rep-PCR-, AFLP-, and AP-PCR/RAPD-based genomic fingerprinting methods, especially when combined with computer-assisted pattern analysis. Genetic diversity maps provide a framework to understand the taxonomy, population structure, and dynamics of phytobacteria and provide a high-resolution framework to devise sensitive, specific, and rapid methods for pathogen detection, plant disease diagnosis, as well as management of disease risk. A variety of PCR-based fingerprinting protocols such as rDNA-based PCR, ITS-PCR, ARDRA, T-RFLPs, and tRNA-PCR have been devised, and numerous innovative approaches using specific primers have been adopted to enhance both the detection and identification of phytobacteria. PCR-based protocols, combined with computer-based analysis, have provided novel fundamental knowledge of the ecology and population dynamics of bacterial pathogens, and present exciting new opportunities for basic and applied studies in plant pathology.

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