SBIR Phase I: Developing a Standardized Array-based Diagnostic Product for Early Identification of Pathogens and Pests of Forest Tree species
This SBIR Phase I research developments an in situ synthesized, pathogen specific, diagnostic microarray that allows for early and accurate detection of harmful pathogens and pests of forestry tree species. The introduction of alien forest insects and pathogens into the USA results in an estimated $4.2 billion in annual losses. Traditional methods have failed to detect these pathogens in a timely and cost efficient manner. There is a pressing need to develop culture-independent molecular-based diagnostic tools that provide rapid and accurate detection of these organisms. It is against this backdrop of economic losses and a product gap that development an in situ synthesized oligonucleotide microarray specifically designed to rapidly and accurately identify these high risk pathogens and pests will address. DNA microarray technology is currently the only established technology that allows for the rapid detection and identification of multiple pathogens in a single assay. This research will design a unique detector for oligonucleotides for a number of high risk forestry pathogens/pests that have been selected in partnership with a consortium of the major companies involved in forest products world wide. The broader impact of this research will be the development of a diagnostic tool that will benefit the forestry industry as a whole, including the USDA Forest Service, Parks & Recreation, and USDA regulatory agencies. Stakeholders will be able to rapidly and accurately detect/identify high risk forestry pathogens in cell culture samples, soil samples, seeds, seedlings or solid wood products. This technology will improve the sustainability of the industry and protect the environment from negative impacts of forest diseases.
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