Quarantine Regulations and the Impact of Modern Detection Methods
Producers worldwide need access to the best plant varieties and cultivars available to be competitive in global markets. This often means moving plants across international borders as soon as they are available. At the same time, quarantine agencies are tasked with minimizing the risk of introducing exotic pests and pathogens along with imported plant material, with the goal to protect domestic agriculture and native fauna and flora. These two drivers, the movement of more plant material and reduced risk of pathogen introduction, are at odds. Improvements in large-scale or next-generation sequencing (NGS) and bioinformatics for data analysis have resulted in improved speed and accuracy of pathogen detection that could facilitate plant trade with reduced risk of pathogen movement. There are concerns to be addressed before NGS can replace existing tools used for pathogen detection in plant quarantine and certification programs. Here, we discuss the advantages and possible pitfalls of this technology for meeting the needs of plant quarantine and certification.