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Quality Control Laboratory


Pathogen Screening

The QC lab has the ability to screen for 16 different plant pathogens, but we focus the most on Little Cherry Disease (LCD). LCD is a disease complex of Little Cherry Virus-2 (LChV-2) and Western-X (Wx) phytoplasma. The combination of these two pathogens can be particularly devastating to cherry growers, so we take extensive steps to regularly screen our budwood orchards for these.

Our protocol for testing Wx was developed by Kogej et al. (2020, Pathogens 9: 642) and is identical to the protocol in use by clean plant centers in the Pacific Northwest and at
UC Davis. This protocol uses a highly reliable and repeatable PCR-based method that uses a genetic probe or “key” that locks on to a specific DNA region in the Wx phytoplasma, allowing for detection of the pathogen even if it is in low abundance. However, while this assay can detect Wx, it is possible to receive false positive results, so the developers of this assay recommend following up any positive tests with further testing. We follow these recommendations.  

Similar to Wx our testing for LChV-2 and other pathogens uses the same protocols used by Clean Plant Centers that relies on PCR techniques that can detect viral infection with a high degree of certainty.

Results for LChV-2 Testing:​

When the virus is present in the sample (1364 and 1370) you get a clear signal that matches that of  the known virus positive control sample (LChV2+). Each sample is run in triplicate and includes an internal reference gene that also gets amplified (not shown) as an extra quality control step.

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