Professor Jander Comments on Citrus Greening Research
BTI Professor George Jander shared his expertise in plant-insect interactions and citrus greening disease in a statement from the Genetic Expert News Service, a science communication group that provides accurate information on biotechnology issues for policymakers and the media. GENeS sought his opinion because of his active research program on natural insect resistance mechanisms in plants.
Jander commented on the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent announcement that they will temporarily approve two genes from spinach to be used in citrus plants. The two antibacterial genes may help the citrus plant to fight off the bacteria that cause citrus greening disease, a plague that is putting the future of the Florida citrus industry at risk.
“Citrus greening is a devastating bacterial disease for which there is little or no natural resistance in cultivated oranges, grapefruit, and related crops. Thus, there is a critical need to go beyond citrus to find novel resistance genes that provide protection against either the bacteria themselves or the insects that transmit them. By expanding the repertoire of plant genes that can be implemented to combat citrus greening, genetic engineering differs from more traditional plant breeding approaches,” said Jander in the statement.