EPA approves field trials of disease-resistant GMO citrus trees


The Environmental Protection Agency announced … that it has given major Florida citrus grower Southern Gardens approval for large-scale field testing of citrus trees that have been genetically engineered to resist citrus greening, a ruinous disease that has caused orange production to plummet to the lowest levels seen in decades.

…Southern Gardens … has been developing the trees for years now. Their genome has been modified to include a gene from spinach plants that produces a protein that makes citrus trees inhospitable to the bacteria that cause citrus greening. Though scientists and citrus growers are exploring several possible treatments for greening … many believe that the genetically modified tree offers the best chances of success.

. . . .

If this testing process goes well and Southern Gardens wants to plant a commercial crop, the company will be required to get approval from the EPA and the USDA. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration has an optional approval process for GMO foods….

[Southern Gardens president Ricke Kress] said, in short, that the very soonest these oranges could come to market would be in three years, but that five to seven years would be a more realistic target.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Greening-Resistant GMO Oranges Come One Step Closer to Market. Here’s Why You Should Care.

  • Albert Stroberg

    I need it sooner than that. The psyllid (the insect vector of HLB) has set up home in So Cal already and the first hints of HLB infections have appeared. We have maybe five years before the pattern demonstrated in Florida & then Texas kills us citrus growers. Even then a newly planted tree will take five years to be economically productive.

    • Julie Mellor-Trupp

      Better initiate an application to do a test field right now.

    • Damo

      NO, everyone knows that GMOs cause farmers economic hardship–not the other way around.

      Good luck and I hope this gets approved.

  • morphd

    What – another GMO not made by Monsanto and that is not resistant to glyphosate so that it can be “drenched” with Roundup?

    This is going to confound some anti-GMO activists…

    • Jim

      Oh, they’ll just continue to bitch about GMOs, accusing them of being able to make glyphosate

  • Good4U

    Excellent work, but Southern Citrus Gardens should have applied for a general Sec. 3 registration so that this technology could be deployed throughout the citrus growing regions of the U.S., including its territories. As it currently exists, the approval by EPA pertains only to an experimental use permit, for Florida only. Get moving on a general registration!