Could genetic engineering save the citrus industry?

The following is an edited excerpt of a longer story. Find a link to the full story below.

A pandemic is destroying orange groves in Florida. The disease, called citrus greening, is also spreading to citrus groves in Texas and California, threatening a more than $3 billion per year industry.

If left unaddressed, the entire U.S. citrus industry could be wiped out. Citrus greening disease is spread by bacteria that block trees’ nutrient and water channels and prevent fruit from ripening.

Pesticides have been of some use in controlling the psyllids but researchers are concerned the insects will develop resistance. And biocontrols – siccing good bugs to prey on the bad ones – have proven ineffective because the psyllids simply outbreed their predators.

That’s where David Gang enters the scene.

Gang’s lab in the Washington State University Institute of Biological Chemistry focuses on using new technologies like genomics and proteomics to study plant defense mechanisms. 

View the full story here: Genetic engineering hopes in citrus disease battle

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