Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Race to Save the Orange by Altering Its DNA - New York Times

Growers turned to genetics in hopes of building a tougher orange tree. But would the public accept genetically modified food?

Excellent article from the NY Times from July 2013 on the citrus industry's urgent response to the greening crisis. Click title for link. From the article:
They scoured Central Florida’s half-million acres of emerald groves and sent search parties around the world to find a naturally immune tree that could serve as a new progenitor for a crop that has thrived in the state since its arrival, it is said, with Ponce de León. But such a tree did not exist.
“In all of cultivated citrus, there is no evidence of immunity,” the plant pathologist heading a National Research Council task force on the disease said.
In all of citrus, but perhaps not in all of nature. With a precipitous decline in Florida’s harvest predicted within the decade, the only chance left to save it, Mr. Kress believed, was one that his industry and others had long avoided for fear of consumer rejection. They would have to alter the orange’s DNA — with a gene from a different species.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The FL legislature already approved GM research funding for 5 years to help the affected orange growers. The research was already underway and this additional funding puts things into overdrive. Very good news for all of this state and strong bipartisan support.