Zach Bateson, Ph.D., Research Scientist, National Agricultural Genotyping Center, Fargo, ND
Pests and pathogens account for up to 30% of the annual losses in food crops worldwide. All agricultural commodities are negatively impacted by pests, either directly in the field or indirectly through the supply chain. Molecular diagnostics to identify and manage threats in agriculture lag behind diagnostic applications in the medical sciences, despite deep connections between agriculture and human health. In this webinar, I describe the diagnostic biotechnology used at the National Agricultural Genotyping Center (NAGC) and how diagnostic data provide insights into emerging threats across the agricultural community. Specifically, I discuss research underway at the NAGC that helps: 1) identify drivers of colony losses impacting the honeybee industry, 2) quickly detect herbicide resistant weeds, and 3) measure environmental pathogen densities to develop predictive models for crop diseases. While the research is diverse in scope, the diagnostic methods take advantage of a commonality across all pests and pathogens—the genetic code.