A single breakthrough discovery for managing citrus greening (also known as Huanglongbing or HLB) in Florida in the future is unlikely, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The committee that wrote the report called for a systems approach to prioritize research on the disease and strategically distribute resources for research to effectively manage the disease, which is the most serious threat for citrus growers worldwide.
The committee recommended continuing support for both basic and applied research for short- and long-term research efforts. In the long run, HLB solutions would likely utilize new technology, such as gene modification and gene editing, focusing on targets that mediate molecular interactions among plant, bacteria, and the vector, the committee said. As interest in using genetic modification in research grows, CRDF [Citrus Research and Development Foundation] should also consider funding research to assess stakeholder acceptance of the technology and expand efforts to educate growers, processors, and consumers to facilitate the eventual deployment of genetically modified citrus lines.
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