Novel Method to Detect PVY-Infected Potato Tested by UMaine’s Scientists
A specialized UMaine research team will receive more than USD446,800 to use hyperspectral methods for studying the Potato Virus Y (PVY) which generates severe losses in crop yield.
The research hub is led by E. Han Tan, assistant professor of plant genetics, and Peter Nelson, forestry ecology director at the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, will also use genomic tools at UMaine’s Maine Center for Genetics in the Environment to study PVY in potatoes.
“Not only will our research test a novel method to detect PVY-infected potato, which costs the potato industry substantial amounts of money for lab testing each year, we hope to better understand the arms race between PVY and potato which will be integrated with other viral systems under investigation at this institute,” says Tan.
Researchers at the Host-Virus Evolutionary Dynamics Institute will study disparate virus systems across domains of life, noted the University of Arkansas in its news release announcing the National Science Foundation (NSF) award. While viruses are ubiquitous across all domains of life, the diversity of the virosphere presents a challenge in establishing universal laws to which all viruses adhere.
Using a common experimental approach, data from studies of all virus systems will be compared and integrated to generate Rules of Life that drive variables such as species jump, virus harbor state, changes in transmission rates, and the emergence of highly virulent virus strains. Rules of Life is one of the National Science Foundation’s 10 Big Ideas for pioneering research that will serve the nation’s future.
“By studying viruses in potatoes using statistical modeling of reflectance scans, we can potentially provide a means to rapidly and easily detect and manage viral outbreaks,” says Nelson, who also is a faculty associate in UMaine’s School of Forest Resources.
A greater understanding of the biology of one of the most destructive plant viruses to potato crops will be the focus of a research hub at the University of Maine that is part of a new USD6.1m institute focused on virology and host-virus dynamics.