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Crop Biotech Update

Survey on Biotech Fruits and Nuts Studied in California

April 27, 2012

One third of California's cash farm receipts is represented by its fruit and nut tree crop, which also accounts for 70 percent of the total fruit and nut production in the U.S. Thus, advances in crop biotechnology are important to protect these crops from diseases and also, to further improve yield. However, biotechnology has not gained a foothold in these crops because it is more complicated to use genetic engineering in woody tree crops.

Scientific Analyst Victor Haroldsen from Morrison and Foerster in San Francisco, together with other researchers, conducted a survey of published genetic engineering (GE) research and issued field trial permits on woody tree crops from 2000 to 2011. They found out that citrus and grape were the most studied fruits while walnut, and not almond, was the focus among nut crops. Most of these research initiatives focused on finding resistance against the top-identified pests and diseases. The team also reported that transgrafting, where a transgenic rootstock is grafted with a conventional wild-type scion, was the most promising GE technology in fruit and nut crops.

Read the research article at http://californiaagriculture.ucanr.org/landingpage.cfm?article=ca.v066n02p62&fulltext=yes.