Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA Analysis of Heterodera cruciferae and H. schachtii populations

  • Edward P. Caswell-Chen
  • Valerie M. Williamson
  • Frances F. Wu


Heterodera schachtii and H. cruciferae are sympatric in California and frequently occur in the same field upon the same host. We have investigated the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of nematode DNA sequences to differentiate H. schachtii and H. cruciferae and to assess genetic variability within each species. Single, random oligodeoxyribonucleotide primers were used to generate PCR-amplified fragments, termed RAPD (random amplified polymorphic DNA) markers, from genomic DNA of each species. Each of 19 different random primers yielded from 2 to 12 fragments whose size ranged from 200 to 1,500 bp. Reproducible differences in fragment patterns allowed differentiation of the two species with each primer. Similarities and differences among six different geographic populations of H. schachtii were detected. The potential application of RAPD analysis to relationships among nematode populations was assessed through cluster analysis of these six different populations, with 78 scorable markers from 10 different random primers. DNA from single cysts was successfully amplified, and genetic variability was revealed within geographic populations. The use of RAPD markers to assess genetic variability is a simple, reproducible technique that does not require radioisotopes. This powerful new technique can be used as a diagnostic tool and should have broad application in nematology. Key words: cyst nematode, diagnostic, DNA, Heterodera cruciferae, H. schachtii, nematode, RAPD marker, PCR, population genetics.