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Author: Jennifer Forman Orth

Invading your brain since 2002.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Fighting With Fungus  

ARS News has a blurb about research efforts by ARS scientists that aim to find more efficient, reliable ways to select pathogens that will be good biological controls to fight invasive plants. Using a combination of DNA sequencing and a measurement of reaction of the plants to the pathogen, the researchers were able select pathogens that were the most species-specific, thereby narrowing down the time and resources needed to find the best biocontrol candidates. For some reason, ARS News doesn't link to the article the blurb is about, but there is an abstract elsewhere on their website. I will post a direct link to the article, which is published in the April 2009 issue of the journal Biological Control, as soon as Elsevier's website is back online :-).

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Not that this doesn't seem like a good idea, but just who is defining "best" (as in "the best biocontrol candidates")? Not having read the other sources, I'm just wondering if this is your word or theirs. One of the biggest problems with biocontrols is that the focus on preventing non-target attack, which is important, has seemingly supplanted any attempts to discern whether or not an agent will actually be effective. I would maintain that "best" agents are not just host-specific, but actually help control their target.

By Blogger Biotunes, at 3/24/2009 09:47:00 PM  

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