iBOL collaborator identifies insect invader
German researchers working with the International Barcode of Life project (iBOL) have produced the first genetic evidence that an invasive and highly destructive fruit fly is now present in the southern state of Baden-Wüautrttemberg.
Researchers from the Bavarian State Collection in Munich used DNA barcoding to identify the spotted-wing Drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, native to East Asia but now a widespread and costly pest in North America and, more recently, in southern Europe. It causes massive damage to soft fruit and berry crops and can also infest vineyards.
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Fly expert Dieter Doczkal, who found the specimen near Rastatt in Baden-Wüautrttemberg last fall, was collecting insects for the Barcoding Fauna Bavarica (BFB) project, an important collaborator of the International Barcoding of Life project (iBOL). iBOL is a global partnership of researchers dedicated to building a DNA barcode reference library for 500,000 animal, plant and fungal species by 2015, focusing on species of particular environmental and socio-economic significance.
Among the important applications of DNA barcode technology is the ability to make rapid and accurate identifications of invasive species with the potential to inflict huge losses on agriculture and forestry industries.
The results have been reported to the plant protection service in Baden-Wüautrttemberg and the Julius-Küauthn Institute (for national and international plant health relations), which also found spotted wing Drosophila at three sites in southern Germany last fall.