Monitoring and tackling genetic selection in the potato cyst nematode Globodera pallida
Disclaimer: The present document has been produced and adopted by the bodies identified above as author(s). In accordance with Article 36 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, this task has been carried out exclusively by the author(s) in the context of a grant agreement between the European Food Safety Authority and the author(s). The present document is published complying with the transparency principle to which the Authority is subject. It cannot be considered as an output adopted by the Authority. The European Food Safety Authority reserves its rights, view and position as regards the issues addressed and the conclusions reached in the present document, without prejudice to the rights of the authors.
Management of plant pests is probably the most serious challenge in sustainable food production and the maintenance of food security. Due to the strict regulation of or ban on major categories of pesticide, the potato cyst nematode Globodera pallida has been managed by a combination of crop rotation and the potato resistance locus Grp1, a relatively narrow range resistance gene which was introgressed into a range of commercial potato cultivars in Europe. However, in 2014, G. pallida populations were described that can no longer be controlled by Grp1. Most likely similar highly virulent populations will also emerge in all major potato growing areas in North Western Europe where production practices are very similar. Except for laborious, costly and often moderately accurate pot experiments, there is currently no rapid and reliable method to identify virulent populations. This represents a strong limitation and prevents an accurate and durable management of infestations. The PalAdapt project funded by EFSA represents the first step of a European battle plan against the emergence of virulent G. pallida populations and aims at improving the methods and tools for a fast identification of virulence outbreaks. Four main research questions were investigated during the project: (i) Do resistance breaking populations correspond to novel introductions into Europe? (ii) Can miniaturized in vitro tests be used to get more rapidly an accurate identification of the virulence status?, (iii) Is cyst size a life history trait useful to estimate the virulence status of a population?, (iv) Can we identify polymorphism to design molecular tools for an accurate virulence monitoring? The EFSA partnering grants initiative was an accurate way to improve the EU risk assessment capacity through a knowledge exchange among partners having complementary resources and expertise.