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Browsing articles by Carolyn King

Wireworms – Know Them, Control Them

A key hurdle in managing wireworms is that different species can have different responses to control measures. So in 2004, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researchers launched the first-ever nation-wide survey of wireworm pest species. Now this challenging survey is in its final year. “The survey is foundational to our development of integrated pest management strategies for wireworms right across Canada,” says Bob Vernon, the AAFC research scientist who is leading the…

Strain Tracking

Through a national initiative, Canadian researchers have found that late blight strains have shifted dramatically across the country since 2009. The researchers have also identified important differences among the strains in such characteristics as fungicide sensitivity, host preferences, and aggressiveness on potato tubers and foliage. And their findings are making a vital difference in late blight prevention and management. The research is led by Rick Peters, a research scientist with Agriculture and…

Fast-Tracking Extreme Resistance

A key tool in the arsenal for controlling potato virus Y (PVY) is cultivar resistance. Now, researchers are developing better molecular markers for faster, more accurate screening of potato breeding lines for “extreme resistance” to PVY – equivalent to PVY immunity. That will enable breeders to more efficiently develop new varieties with total protection against this serious disease. “PVY is one of the most widespread viruses and also one of the most…

From Traits to DNA to Traits

Potato breeders select promising lines mainly based on the plants’ phenotypes – how the individual plants perform under greenhouse and field conditions; in other words, how each plant expresses its own specific DNA – its genotype – in a particular environmental situation. But phenotypic selection can be time-consuming and imperfect. So Canadian researchers are matching key phenotypic traits with specific DNA segments to develop tools for quicker, more reliable identification of the…

More tools for wireworm control

Two researchers have done extensive work to improve and expand options for controlling wireworms, including insecticides and crop rotations. However, none of the available options gives complete control, and wireworm populations are exploding in some parts of Canada. New, innovative traps are set to become valuable additional tools in the fight against these very damaging pests. Wireworms belong to the Elateridae family. Canada has about 30 wireworm species of economic importance. A…

A tuber-damaging strain of alfalfa mosaic virus

When alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV) happens to occur in potatoes, it usually causes leaf mottling and blotching. Now, researchers have identified an unusual strain that causes necrosis – brownish dead patches – in tubers, the first such AMV strain found in Canada. The story of how this tuber-necrosis culprit was identified is a little like something from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The infected tubers were discovered in 2012 during routine sampling in…

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