Detection and identification of the phytoplasma associated with pear decline in Taiwan
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Pear decline (PD) is an important phytoplasmal disease that occurs mainly in Europe and North America. In 1994, pear trees exhibiting symptoms typical of PD disease were observed in orchards of central Taiwan. The sequence of 16S rDNA and 16S–23S rDNA intergenic spacer region (ISR) of the causative agent of pear decline in Taiwan (PDTW) were amplified with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using a DNA template prepared from the diseased leaves. Sequence analysis of 16S rDNA revealed that the PDTW agent was closely related to the phytoplasmas of the apple proliferation group that cause diseases in stone fruits, pear and apple. Consistent with the result of 16S rDNA sequence analysis, sequence analysis of the 16S–23S rDNA ISR and putative restriction site analyses of 16S rDNA and 16S–23S rDNA ISR sequences provided further support for the view that the PDTW phytoplasma causing pear decline in Taiwan may represent a new subgroup of the apple proliferation group. According to the rDNA sequence of PDTW phytoplasma, two specific PCR primer pairs, APf2/L1n and fPD1/rPDS1, were designed in this study for the detection of the etiological agent in pear trees and insect vectors. Based on the sequence analyses of the PCR-amplified fragments, two species of pear psyllas, Cacopsylla qianli and Cacopsylla chinensis, were found to carry PDTW phytoplasma.
KeywordsPhytoplasma vectors rRNA
The authors would like to thank Dr M. M. Yang (Department of Entomology, National Chung Hsing University) for the supply of field-collected pear psyllas, and Dr T. L. Shen and Dr W. C. Shen (Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, National Taiwan University) for comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.
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