Most recent studies in molecular identification have used PCR in some form. This is not surprising given the power of this tool for analyzing DNA. As the use of PCR methodologies in plant disease diagnosis was reviewed by Henson and French (1993), Mills (1996), our emphasis will be on studies conducted since these reviews. The number of studies on various plant pathogenic genera generally reflects the relative importance of these genera in plant pathology. One of the genera receiving the most attention from molecular biologists, for both understanding phylogeny and pathogenicity, has been Fusarium. Recent work on this genus has been reviewed elsewhere (Nicholson 2001).
Applications of molecular techniques in plant pathology have provided methods for identification of isolates of plant pathogens, and identification of pathogens directly from plant materials such as leaves, seeds, or roots. These procedures may be applied at almost any taxonomic level, but usually address taxa at species level and below [e.g. races of a given pathogen]. Molecular methods have also proved useful for distinguishing nontaxonomic categories such as virulence or toxicity.
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