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Can Genetic Engineering Save One Of Florida’s Most Beloved Fruits?

August 11, 2017
Citrus-greening disease is a major threat to Florida oranges. On the GMO Answers Medium  page, two University of Florida researchers describe how advances in genetic engineering can help save everyone’s favorite citrus fruit.
Hundreds of thousands of affected grapefruit and sweet orange trees have been removed from Florida groves, as they are highly susceptible to HLB infection. As a result, many growers, packing houses and even a few juice processing plants have gone out of business. Some growers have even ventured into alternate crops such as blueberries and peaches. This disease is causing serious damage to the Florida economy, as citrus has been a $10B industry in Florida.

[g]enetic engineering (familiarly, “GMO”) remains the fastest method of citrus improvement without otherwise changing the original characteristics (cultivar integrity) of the citrus varieties that are popular in Florida. Using genetic engineering technology, one or more genes that confer resistance can be inserted into the genome of any given citrus variety, without changing the variety other than adding the new valuable trait that is otherwise unavailable.

To read the entire post, please visit the GMO Answers Medium page.