Crop Biotech Update

ARS Scientists Find Psyllid Populations in the Americas are Genetically Distinct

November 26, 2010

Scientists of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) discovered that North and South America populations of the pest Asian citrus psyllid are genetically distinct. Asian citrus psyllid is responsible for transmitting the citrus greening disease also called Huanglongbing.

Agricultural Research Service scientist Jesse de León and colleagues are applying molecular tools to genetically characterize the Asian citrus psyllid. They tried to determine if the North America population came from South America. However, their studies have shown that this isn't so. Instead, they think that the continent was probably invaded by psyllids from different Asian countries. They are continuously searching for the exact origin of the North American population by examining worldwide populations. According to De León , the findings of their research would be helpful in biocontrol programs for the pest.

For more details, visit http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2010/101123.htm.