Evaluation of Phytosanitary Measure Efficacy Using Genomics
In recent years, globalization and increasing international traffic have allowed tree infecting micro-organisms and pests to colonize new forests and plantations. These invasions are a threat to global trade and the delicate ecological balance of our forests. Good examples are the Sudden Oak Death (SOD) outbreak caused by Phytophthora ramorum in California and the emerald ash borer in eastern Canada. Such epidemics can wreak havoc and halt international trade resulting in loss of millions of dollars. A set of practices including monitoring, heat or chemical treatments of wood products enforced by Government regulatory agencies is referred to as Phytosanitary measures by the industry. We believe that rigorous surveillance involving monitoring for pathogenic microbes before and after phytosanitary measures is essential to keep these organisms under control. Although great progress has been made in wood treatment for insects and nematodes, the assessment of treatment efficacy remains challenging for pathogens that are impossible to detect. We propose a genomic solution to this challenge.