As keynote speaker Gert Kema took part in the 1st Global Fusarium Tropical Race 4 meeting themed “Threats and opportunities’. He talked about the current status of molecular diagnostic methods of TR4 and in particular whether Wageningen University & Research (WUR) can be an international diagnostic center.

During the meeting he explained that diagnostics should always be one step ahead of biological diversity, which he underpinned by recent reports of inaccurate detection of TR4 and how this was tackled by a recently published new TR4 diagnostic based on new specific genomic positions, derived from a genomic database that was developed over the last couple of years.

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He showed that WUR has always been at the forefront of innovative detection methods and that since TR4 surfaced for the first time outside South East Asia, which was published in 2014, the number of positive cases has rapidly increased, which can be contributed to the rapid new TR4 diagnostic that was published in 2010. Hence, WUR is ready and capable to serve the community as a diagnostic center. He finished his contribution by indicating that the sector needs disruptive change in TR4 prevention, banana breeding and overall R&D.

Gert Kema’s keynote speech was held at the 1st Global Fusarium Tropical Race 4 meeting in Miami, USA, on November 22, 2019, which was organized by CORBANA.

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