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Multiplex polymerase chain reaction for simultaneous detection and identification of Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, B. mucronatus and B. fraudulentus – three closely related species within the xylophilus group

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Differentiation between Bursaphelenchus xylophilus and other related, non-pathogenic species can be ambiguous when based exclusively on morphological characters. The morphology of B. mucronatus and B. fraudulentus most closely resembles that of B. xylophilus. Moreover, all of these nematodes are found in both Asia and Europe and can colonise various species of pine. Therefore, for phytosanitary purposes it is necessary to identify the three species precisely and rapidly. We report the results of a multiplex PCR that utilises four primers to identify and discriminate the three Bursaphelenchus species simultaneously. The multiplex PCR yielded DNA fragments of 767, 305 and 132 bp, for B. xylophilus, B. mucronatus and B. fraudulentus, respectively. This primer combination has produced reliable results in multiplex PCR assays with a number of different populations of the listed species, and no cross-reactions were observed with other Bursaphelenchus species. The described approach is simple, reliable and cheaper than other molecular methods presently used for simultaneous identification of the above three species within the xylophilus group.

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Biological Pest Control, Institute of Plant Protection – National Research Institute, Władysława Węgorka 20, 60-318 Poznań, Poland ; 2: 2Interdepartmental Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Institute of Plant Protection – National Research Institute, Władysława Węgorka 20, 60-318 Poznań, Poland

*Corresponding author, e-mail:

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