Molecular Diagnostics

Supporting agriculture and horticulture through diagnostic services based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyses.

Sector: Crop Science

James Hutton Limited can support agriculture and horticulture in a number of ways through diagnostic services based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyses.  Molecular Diagnostic tests can detect specific sequences in plant DNA or RNA that may be associated with disease resistance, quality/agronomic traits and varietal issues.  These diagnostic tests can be applied to early generation breeding material or developed varieties using a range of tissue types.  James Hutton Limited can offer a range of diagnostics for soft fruit, potato, barley and soil.

Molecular Diagnostic can be used for:

  • Screening germplasm for molecular markers that have been identified at James Hutton Institute and can be used to suggest possible traits in plant material
  • Validating new molecular markers
  • Test high health plant material for viruses and other diseases 
  • Authenticity testing for both propagators of plant material and nurseries buying in plant material
  • Analysis of soils for the presence of free living nematodes

NEW KASP assay for EPH in Barley 

The James Hutton Institute has completed a ten month InnovateUK funded project with the Scotch Whisky Research Institute (SWRI), Edinburgh, resulting in the development of a new EPH KASP™ marker assay, available to purchase from James Hutton Limited. Please contact Laura Paterson for more details in the first instance.

James Hutton Limited will also offer a laboratory testing service for EPH using the KASP™ marker, using a two-rep test. Please contact Vanessa Young for further information and to book tests. 

Prices for the two-rep test are: 

£47 per sample

DNA extraction from seed (1 sample) £19
DNA extraction from leaf material (1 sample) £11

Read more about the newly developed marker, here

Molecular Diagnostics for Soft Fruit

Screening of germplasm covering the Rubus genus (particularly raspberry and blackberry) using molecular markers associated with key traits for pest and disease resistance and fruit quality:

  • Raspberry root rot resistance 
  • Fruit size 
  • Validation phase of fruit softening
  • Validation phase of fruit yield

We also have the capability to screen a range of other Rubus traits, including architectural.

Screening of germplasm covering the Ribes genus (currants):
Gall mite resistance

DNA Fingerprinting
This provides a DNA profile of the variety.  Genotyping services are available for both soft fruit varieties and potato.  The generation of DNA fingerprints can be used for a variety of purposes.

  • Trueness-to-type
  • Varietal issues/mix-ups
  • Relatedness of breeding material/phylogenetic analysis (primarily for soft fruit)

James Hutton Limited also has an extensive database of DNA profiles of soft fruit varieties for comparative purposes.

Molecular Diagnostics for Barley (incl. Prices)

James Hutton Limited can offer two molecular diagnostic tests for barley:

Resistance to Barley Yellow Mosaic Virus (BaYMV) and Barley Mild Mosaic Virus (BaMMV)
James Hutton Limited screens barley lines/varieties for resistance to BaMMV and two strains of BaYMV using a fluorescently labelled molecular marker, Bmac29.  The test is carried out alongside reference DNA samples from cultivars known to be susceptible, rym4 resistant (BaMMV and BaYMV-1) or rym 5 resistant (BaMMV, BaYMV-1 and BaYMV-2).  Resulting DNA profiles are analysed to determine their resistance status.

Presence or Absence of EPH in Malting Barley
An EPH genotyping test is used to identify whether a barley line/variety is a producer or non-producer of the cyanogenic compound epiheterodendrin (EPH), an undesirable cyanogenic compound found in malting barley. 
To ensure accuracy of results, a duplicate test is carried out.  DNA is screened using a multiplex marker along with reference samples from known EPH producers/non-producers using polymerase chain reaction technology and results analysed using gel electrophoresis. 

Costs per sample for testing from barley seed, based on testing between 1 and 50 samples. Please enquire for >50 samples. Minimum service charge of £300.

BaYMV/BaMMV resistance test         Price (exc. VAT)
Unreplicated test                                £60
Replicated test                                   £83

EPH test                                            Price (exc. VAT)
Replicated test                                  £53.50

Additional Services                           Price (exc. VAT)
DNA extraction from seed                £19
DNA extraction from leaf material    £11

Genotyping/PCR only services are also available, price is dependent on the number of samples to be processed.

A comprehensive report will be provided on completion of analysis and results presented in an easy to read table.  Should any follow up testing be required, James Hutton Limited will retain DNA samples in cold storage for two years. 

Molecular Diagnostics for Potatoes

Molecular Markers
H1 Gene
Validation phase of marker GPA5, gene resistance to white PCN of S.Vernei origin

Conventional Testing
Canister testing for White and Golden PCN

DNA Fingerprinting
This provides a DNA profile of the variety.  Genotyping services are available for both soft fruit varieties and potato.
The generation of DNA fingerprints can be used for a variety of purposes.

Molecular Diagnostics for Soil

James Hutton Limited can offer both conventional, microscopic testing and a recently developed diagnostic test to identify the presence of Free Living Nematodes in soil.
This diagnostic provides a rapid and cost effective identification of the four most common Paratrichodorus and Trichodorus species in the UK, known to vector TRV. Combined with an appropriate sampling strategy, the diagnostic offers growers an opportunity to generate a robust field map of the distribution of FLN species capable of transmitting TRV.

Case Studies

rainbow colours
Diagnostic testing for Free-Living Nemataodes.

Other Services