Detection of Heterbasidion Root Disease Using Genetic Fingerprinting
Heterobasidion root disease, caused by the fungus Heterobasidion irregulare has recently become a serious disease in midwestern red pine plantations. Very little is known about the disease in the East and the Midwest, including its distribution, how it spreads, how it infects other trees, and which management strategies would be effective for control. It may be newly invasive to this region and its distribution may be affected by climate change. Forest Service scientists, working in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, have developed a DNA sampling kit for detecting the pathogen directly from affected trees. The kit was distributed to foresters throughout the Midwest to assist with field surveys and allow broad geographical sampling. The molecular technique is more accurate, less expensive, and less labor-intensive than traditional detection methods, allowing intensive sampling and analysis.
Forest Service Partners