Biotech Updates

Spinach Genes May Stop Deadly Citrus Disease

April 4, 2012

"Citrus greening is a bacterial disease that affects the vascular system of the tree, or phloem," said Dr. Erik Mirkov, a Texas AgriLife Research plant pathologist at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco. "It basically shuts off the tree's ability to take up and use water and nutrients, causing the tree to die.

Through the transfer of  two genes from spinach to citrus, the team was able to provide citrus resistance against citrus greening disease or Huanglongbing (HLB). Greenhouse experiments and field testing in Florida will be conducted soon. The researchers also found that while one spinach gene is more effective than the other, they work better together than they do alone.

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