Dhami MK, Kumarasinghe L (2014) A HRM Real-Time PCR Assay for Rapid and Specific Identification of the Emerging Pest Spotted-Wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii). PLoS ONE 9(6): e98934. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0098934

Spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) is an emerging pest that began spreading in 2008 and its distribution now includes 13 countries across two continents. Countries where it is established have reported significant economic losses of fresh produce, such as cherries due to this species of fly. At larval stages, it is impossible to identify due to its striking similarities with other cosmopolitan and harmless drosophilids. Molecular methods allow identification but the current technique of DNA barcoding is time consuming.

The study developed and validated a rapid, highly sensitive and specific assay based on real-time PCR and high resolution melt (HRM) analysis using EvaGreen DNA intercalating dye chemistry. Performance characteristics of this qualitative assay, validation and applicability in a New Zealand quarantine framework are discussed. Application of this robust and independently validated assay across the spectrum of key food production and border protection industries will reduce the further spread of this damaging species worldwide.

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