Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetic analysis saves major apple-producing region of Washington state

Date:
March 23, 2013
Source:
University of Notre Dame
Summary:
A genetic analysis has saved a major apple-producing region of Washington state.

Rhagoletis indifferens.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Notre Dame

In August 2011, researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture were presented with a serious, and potentially very costly, puzzle in Kennewick, Wash. Since Kennewick lies within a region near the heart of Washington state's $1.5 billion apple-growing region, an annual survey of fruit trees is performed by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) to look for any invading insects. This time the surveyors discovered a crabapple tree that had been infested by a fruit fly that they couldn't identify.

It was possible that the fly's larvae, eating away inside the crabapples as they grew toward adulthood, belonged to a relatively harmless species that had simply expanded its traditional diet. In that case, they posed little threat to the surrounding apple orchards in central Washington.

But the real fear was that they represented an expansion in the range of the invasive apple maggot fly, known to biologists as Rhagoletis pomonella. If so, then this would trigger a costly quarantine process affecting three counties in the state.

"In one of the world's leading apple-growing regions, a great deal of produce and economic livelihood rested on quickly and accurately figuring out which one of the flies was in that tree," says Jeffrey Feder, professor of biological sciences and a member of the Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics initiative (AD&T) at the University of Notre Dame. "And for these flies, it can sometime turn out to be a difficult thing to do."

As Feder and his team, including graduate student Gilbert St. Jean and AD&T research assistant professor Scott Egan, discuss in a new study in the Journal of Economic Entomology, the WSDA sent larvae samples to Wee Yee, research entomologist at the USDA's Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory in Wapato, Wash. One larva was sent to Notre Dame for genetic analysis. The study sought to compare Notre Dame's genetic analysis to Yee's visual identification after the larvae had developed into adults. Fortunately, the fly identified, Rhagoletis indifferens, is not known to infest apples. The Notre Dame group further demonstrated that it is possible to genetically identify the correct fly species within two days, compared to the four months required to raise and visually identify the fly.

A separate study led by the Feder lab details how the apple maggot fly was recently introduced into the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S., likely via larval-infested apples from the East. The flies have subsequently reached as far north as British Columbia, Canada, and as far south as northern California. So far, though, the apple maggot has not been reported infesting any commercial apple orchards in central Washington.

"The correct identification of the larvae infesting crabapple trees saved the local, state and federal agencies thousands of dollars in monitoring, inspection and control costs," Yee said. "The cost to growers if the apple maggot had been found to be established in the region would have been very substantial (easily over half a million dollars), but the rapid diagnostic test developed at Notre Dame suspended the need to proceed with the rulemaking process, saving staff and administrative costs."

The Feder team is continuing to refine the genetic assays to develop a portable test that would be valuable in apple-growing regions, as well as ports of entry where fruit infested by nonlocal insect species can be rapidly detected, to prevent the spread of the insect.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Notre Dame. The original article was written by Kirk Reinbold. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Notre Dame. "Genetic analysis saves major apple-producing region of Washington state." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130323152914.htm>.
University of Notre Dame. (2013, March 23). Genetic analysis saves major apple-producing region of Washington state. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130323152914.htm
University of Notre Dame. "Genetic analysis saves major apple-producing region of Washington state." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130323152914.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins