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Applying molecular-based approaches to classical biological control of weeds (Review).

Gaskin, J.F., Bon, M.-C., Cock, M.J.W., Cristofaro, M., De Biase, A., De Clerck-Floate, R.A., Ellison, C.A., Hinz, H.L., Hufbauer, R.A., Julien, M.H., and Sforza, R. (2011). "Applying molecular-based approaches to classical biological control of weeds (Review).", Biological Control, 58(1), pp. 1-21. doi : 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2011.03.015  Access to full text


The use of molecular techniques is rapidly growing as the tools have become more diverse and powerful, more widely available, and easier to implement. Molecular analyses are able to elucidate information about target weeds that is critical to improving control success, such as taxonomic clarification, evidence of hybridization and cryptic species, better development of test plant lists, population structure and origin of invasions. Similarly, molecular approaches can improve our knowledge of biological control agents, providing taxonomic clarity, identification of immature arthropods and fungal pathogens, and description of genetic variability in agents. Molecular tools also allow easier identification of host associations and provide a tool for post-release evaluation and tracking of agents. This review provides an overview of how to use molecular approaches in biological control of weeds, with the aim of assisting the adoption and facilitating fruitful collaboration between scientists studying the biology and ecology of agents and their targets and those with skills using molecular approaches. We describe the current molecular techniques relevant to classical biological control of weeds, instruct how to collect field materials for molecular analyses, and give recent examples of the use of molecular methods in biological control of weeds, with comments on the most appropriate methods for analysis of molecular data.

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