Diagnostic Probes Targeting the Major Sperm Protein Gene That May Be Useful in the Molecular Identification of Nematodes


  • R. A. Setterquist
  • G. K. Smith
  • R. Jones
  • G. E. Fox


Discrimination of closely related nematode species is typically problematic when traditional identification characteristics are prone to intraspecific variation. In this study, a molecular approach that can distinguish Pratylenchus penetrans and P. scribneri is described. The approach uses universal primers in conjunction with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify equivalent fragments of the major sperm protein (msp) gene from any nematode. This gene fragment typically includes an intron of variable sequence. The presence of this highly variable segment in an otherwise conserved gene sequence allows P. penetrans and P. scribneri to be distinguished by either a species-specific amplification or by dot-blot hybridization. The approach is potentially of general utility in species-specific identification of nematodes. Key words: identification, intron, lesion nematode, molecular biology, nematode, Pratylenchus penetrans, Pratylenchus scribneri, sperm protein.