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Capacity building for detecting plant pathogens using real time PCR

Mexico has a network of state and private laboratories with authorization from the Mexican Plant Health Authority (DGSC), an office of the National Service of Agri-Food Health, Safety, and Quality (SENASICA), to examine and identify plant diseases, in order to protect crops in Mexico. It is vital that the technicians at these facilities continue to receive and update their training, in order to ensure the highest levels of competence, and to help deliver the projects of MasAgro.

As part of its component to develop genetic resources and seed multiplication, deliver new technologies, and build capacity, MasAgro funded the second theoretical-practical course on detecting plant pathogens using PCR in real time, during 24-26 January 2012, at El Batán. The course was organized by Mónica Mezzalama, Head of CIMMYT’s Seed Health Laboratory, and lead by Paul Vincelli, Professor at Kentucky State University, USA. The 16 participants came from SENASICA-SAGARPA, Plant Health State Committees, universities, the private sector, and CIMMYT.

“The course was excellent and reached the objectives set,” said Kenia Rodriguez, Technician at the Molecular Biology Laboratory, Morelia. “I learnt a lot about things I do at the National Center of Phytosanitary Reference, particularly on techniques I didn’t know about.” Daisy Fuentes, Head of GeMBio, Science Research Center, Yucatán AC, said that the course will be helpful for her daily activities after being exposed to the PCR techniques in much greater detail.

The certification ceremony was presided over by Marco Antonio Caballero García, Director of Production Inputs, SAGARPA, with Kevin Pixley, Director of CIMMYT Genetic Resources, and Mezzalama. Congratulations to all the graduates!