Plant pathogen forensics: Capabilities, needs, and recommendations

J. Fletcher, C. Bender, B. Budowle, W. T. Cobb, S. E. Gold, C. A. Ishimaru, D. Luster, U. Melcher, R. Murch, H. Scherm, R. C. Seem, J. L. Sherwood, B. W. Sobral, S. A. Tolin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


A biological attack on U.S. crops, rangelands, or forests could reduce yield and quality, erode consumer confidence, affect economic health and the environment, and possibly impact human nutrition and international relations. Preparedness for a crop bioterror event requires a strong national security plan that includes steps for microbial forensics and criminal attribution. However, U.S. crop producers, consultants, and agricultural scientists have traditionally focused primarily on strategies for prevention and management of diseases introduced naturally or unintentionally rather than on responding appropriately to an intentional pathogen introduction. We assess currently available information, technologies, and resources that were developed originally to ensure plant health but also could be utilized for postintroduction plant pathogen forensics. Recommendations for prioritization of efforts and resource expenditures needed to enhance our plant pathogen forensics capabilities are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-471
Number of pages22
JournalMicrobiology and Molecular Biology Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2006


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