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Genetic analysis saves major apple-producing region of Washington state
Date:3/22/2013

e 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.


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Contact: Kirk Reinbold
Kirk.Reinbold.2@nd.edu
574-631-1470
University of Notre Dame
Source:Eurekalert

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