Conclusions

Molecular methodologies have been used successfully to address a number of problems in identification of plant pathogenic fungi. Not all of the molecular identification methods have been fully utilized, but this will probably change in the future. Practical application of molecular methodologies is increasing as the instruments become less expensive and the protocols less complex. The demand for rapid, accurate identification of plant pathogens is growing. In addition to the need for such methods in field diagnosis and import/export issues, the threat of plant pathogens as potential bioterrorist weapons has added impetus to the need for rapid identification. The lack of a universally applicable technique that would differentiate all fungi makes rapid identification difficult unless preliminary morphological or physiological information is available. New methods are being developed (Schaad et al. 2002) which hold great promise for rapid identification of many plant pathogens.

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