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BacktoCricaddict

Citrus - the way God meant for it to be

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- does not exist anymore.  And even if it did, it is not edible. 

 

Last week, I posted about how seedless grapes are not genetically engineered, but have been produced by artificial selection by humans to propagate the traits that humans desire, not ones that "God" or evolution or nature would've "chosen" for the grape.  Here is another such example - citrus.  At the top of the picture are the "natural" species, they are barely  or not at all edible.  By selecting and crossing repeatedly, humans have carefully and painstakingly developed scores of citrus varieties for various purposes (rest of the picture shows these crosses). 

 

Like with grapes, there are no GMO citrus varieties in commercial production.  And that is a pity because university scientists have developed bacterial-resistant GMO citrus that is languishing in the lab because of irrational fear of GMOs. These GMO varieties are resistant to HLB, a bacterial disease that originated in China and is ravaging citrus orchards in Florida. But farmers are not allowed to plant them.   

 

 

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48 minutes ago, gattaca said:

How did the bacteria made its way from China to Florida ? Why does China has so many bacteria and viruses ? 

Smuggled tree clippings were brought into FL.  They had the disease and it spread to >70% of the orchards within 15 years.  

 

This is the reason countries are very strict with bringing live plant material into their borders.  While I was in grad school, I arranged for a "Yalakki BaaLe" (the best banana variety ever) to be imported into FL for a friend who grew all sorts of fruit trees in his orchard in FL  We did all the paperwork, the plant got here, and in Washington DC, US Dept of Ag found a few white flies.  They called me and said they had to incinerate it and poof ... that was the end of that little venture.  

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6 hours ago, velu said:

Seedless pomegranate is what I want :hmm:

Half of the  fruit is made up of bitter  seeds 

There are some Israeli varieties with soft, easily chewable seeds.  Rare, though.  Personally, I like the chewiness of the seed.  What I want is an easy-peel pom.  Cut it open and shake it and all the fruitlets will just fall ...

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15 hours ago, BacktoCricaddict said:

that is a pity because university scientists have developed bacterial-resistant GMO citrus that is languishing in the lab because of irrational fear of GMOs. These GMO varieties are resistant to HLB, a bacterial disease that originated in China and is ravaging citrus orchards in Florida. But farmers are not allowed to plant them

Isn't this due to selective breeding itself?how else would one strain infect the entire orchard.

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Just now, MultiB48 said:

insects and microbes have been around for ever, how did citrus survive all this time?

Oceans.  Insects that spread HLB do not fly from China to US.  When HLB-infected cuttings were smuggled and planted by someone in FL, the HLB bacteria were transmitted to other citrus trees in nearby orchards.  Once that happens, the spread is rapid.   

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39 minutes ago, BacktoCricaddict said:

Oceans.  Insects that spread HLB do not fly from China to US.  When HLB-infected cuttings were smuggled and planted by someone in FL, the HLB bacteria were transmitted to other citrus trees in nearby orchards.  Once that happens, the spread is rapid.   

I still don't understand,why is it so vunerable to this strain, people have been traveling and carrying seeds/plants from one part of the world to another for centuries .

 

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2 hours ago, MultiB48 said:

I still don't understand,why is it so vunerable to this strain, people have been traveling and carrying seeds/plants from one part of the world to another for centuries .

 

HLB emerged recently (early 1900s) and started to become a problem in the 1940s.  It caused quite the damage in China, too.  I am willing to bet that Chinese geneticists have bred resistance into local varieties and so it may not be as big a problem any more. 

 

US citrus did not encounter this bacterium until @2005 when the infected cuttings was smuggled in.  There was no reason to breed HLB resistance into US citrus because it was not found here.  Now, why did it not get here sooner?  Part of the reason could be the strict rules on moving living material between borders.  But once it got here it spread fast because it is a particularly vicious bacterium.  It spreads fast but is not easy to culture in lab, so it is harder to develop antibacterials.  The solution has to be a genetic one - either by breeding (which is being done) or genetic engineering (already done, but not allowed for commercialization).  

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