NEW YORK, Nov. 30—Cepheid announced Thursday that it had a two-year deal with the US Department of Agriculture to develop rapid field tests for common plant diseases.

USDA Agricultural Research Service researchers will design DNA primers and probes, and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Cepheid will develop high-stability PCR tests with these probes. The testing kits will be designed for diseases such as citrus canker, Karnal wheat bunt, Pierce’s disease in grapes and plum pox.

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