Norwegian colleagues share polymerase chain reaction (PCR) expertise

Forest Research pathologist spends three weeks at the Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute

News from Forest Research: April 2008

Norwegian forest in winterEarlier this year, Forest Research pathologist Sarah Green spent three weeks at the Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute in Ås, Norway, to learn the theory and techniques of real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for detection of tree diseases.

Real-time PCR is a highly specific, sensitive and rapid method of identifying pathogens based on the detection of specific DNA regions unique to each organism. The technique can also be used to quantify accurately the level of pathogen infection in the host tissue.

During her stay, Sarah worked alongside staff of the molecular biology lab, including Senior Research Scientist Carl Gunnar Fossdal, whose particular area of interest is forest health. The group has considerable experience in developing real-time PCR tools for the detection and study of tree diseases important to Norwegian forestry.

Sarah says:

“I was able to work with an already established real-time PCR method for detection of a species of Phomopsis associated with drought-damaged Sitka spruce in Scotland, and we also developed a real-time PCR method to detect the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv. aesculi that causes bleeding canker of horse chestnut in the UK.

“It was exciting to learn the necessary skills to use quantitative real-time PCR as a research tool for forest pathology and I came back very keen to use them in working with my Forest Research colleagues. The visit also resulted in an ongoing collaboration between Forest Research and the Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute. For both these reasons, I think the Senior Fellowship funding by the British Society for Pathology is a hugely valuable initiative for researchers such as myself and for making the best use of research expertise.”


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This and other news stories can be found in the April 2008 issue of FR Eye, our online newsletter.