University of Florida scientists achieved a major milestone in their quest to develop a citrus greening-resistant tree by sequencing the genome of a fruit plant that’s a close cousin to citrus trees.
UF/IFAS researchers sequenced the genome from trifoliate orange, in collaboration with scientists from the University of California at Berkeley, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute and UF’s Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research. The new genome will help those who breed new citrus trees that will survive under today’s challenging conditions, including invasive pests, viruses and changing climates. Their research provides a powerful new tool to control the deadly consequences of the greening disease, which has severely damaged the state’s multi-billion-dollar-a-year citrus industry.
“Very importantly, trifoliate orange and its hybrids have genes that can confer high tolerance to citrus greening and resistance to the Asian citrus psyllid, the insect that transmits greening to citrus,” said Zhanao Deng, a professor of environmental horticulture and senior author on the new UF/IFAS-led study. “This genome can be used as a reference template to sequence widely used trifoliate orange hybrid rootstock varieties.”Learn more about UF Scientists Make Big Stride Toward Greening-Resistant Citrus Trees.