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The detection and identification of harmful insect pests are critical to the maintenance of EU plant health, both as regards the introduction of new pests into Europe and the spread of established pests within Europe. It is evident that procedures for pest diagnostics will be of growing importance as an increase in legal challenges to member state plant health decisions can be expected in response to the EC Plant Health Directive and the General Agreement an Tariffs and Trade (GATT) rules.
Molecular diagnostic techniques can facilitiate quarantine identifications as well as the study of the biology and epidemiology of existing pest species and their biotypes (e.g. pesticide resistant biotypes, host specific biotypes) both in the support of current EU plant health policy and in the development of future EU policy. Currently, insufficient DNA sequence data exists to enable the design of molecular-based tests which will be specific to target species, yet be adaptable enough to cope with potentially high levels of intraspecific variation.
The objectives of this proposed project are:
* To develop novel, standardised and robust molecular diagnostic procedures for the identification of Tephritid and other quarantine insect species.
* To develop molecular markers for monitoring gene flow of Tephritid insects within the EU and to aid identification of the sources of new infestations.
* To develop novel, standardised and robust molecular diagnostic procedures for the identification of high risk insect biotypes exhibiting pesticide resistance.
* To establish a DNA sequence database for insects of quarantine importance as well as non-quarantine species which need to be distinguished from quarantine pests.
* To disseminate identification protocols, diagnostic materials (e.g. PCR primers, "type" DNA) and DNA sequence data to EU laboratories with responsibility for quarantine pest identification.

Call for proposal

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Queen's University of Belfast
Newforge lane
BT9 5PX Belfast
United Kingdom

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EU contribution
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Participants (5)