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  2. Rapid Point-of-Care Diagnostics for Wheat Rusts (MARPLE)

Rapid Point-of-Care Diagnostics for Wheat Rusts (MARPLE)

MARPLE (Mobile And Real-time PLant disEase) diagnostics is a new innovative approach for fungal crop pathogen diagnostics developed by Diane Saunders’s team at the John Innes Centre.

MARPLE is the first operational system in the world using nanopore sequencing for rapid diagnostics and surveillance of complex fungal pathogens in situ. Generating results in 48 hours of field sampling, this new digital diagnostic strategy is leading revolutionary changes in plant disease diagnostics. Rapid strain level diagnostics are essential to quickly find new emergent strains and guide appropriate control measures.

Through this project, CIMMYT will:

  • Deploy and scale MARPLE to priority geographies and diseases as part of the Current and Emerging Threats to Crops Innovation Lab led by Penn State University / PlantVillage and funded by USAID’s Feed the Future.
  • Build national partner capacity for advanced disease diagnostics. We will focus geographically on Ethiopia, Kenya and Nepal for deployment of wheat stripe and stem rust diagnostics, with possible expansion to Bangladesh and Zambia (wheat blast).
  • Integrate this new in-country diagnostic capacity with recently developed disease forecasting models and early warning systems. Already functional for wheat stripe rust, the project plans to expand MARPLE to incorporate wheat stem rust and wheat blast.