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Crop Biotech Update

Gene Editing Provides Possible Solution to Citrus Greening Disease

January 20, 2021
Photo Source: iStock

Researchers from Instituto Agronômico de Campinas is developing a citrus plant through gene editing to combat huanglongbing (HLB) or the citrus greening disease in São Paulo, Brazil.

The researchers used citrandarin rootstocks (hybrids of tangerines with Poncirus trifoliata) in the breeding program because it has the genes to reduce the impacts of the disease. Citrandarin rootstocks are tolerant to HLB and it induces the canopy to a reduced size for sustainability and lower production cost. The researchers will also use CRISPR to silence the genes responsible for the plant's hypersensitivity response to infection by the HLB bacteria.

As of the moment, there is no available HLB-tolerant variety of citrus plants. The research could be a promising breakthrough as it offers a disease-resistant variety with desired fruit quality, appearance, and flavor.

For more details, read the article in the Genetic Literacy Project.

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