By Clifton Leaf and Sy Mukherjee
May 17, 2017

Greetings, readers. This is Sy.

CRISPR gene-editing has already been vaunted as a tool that could eventually be used to tackle everything from HIV/AIDS to sickle cell disease to a variety of other disorders. But could it also save America’s fruit?

That’s what geneticists and local growers in states like Florida are trying to figure out. Floridian agricultural company Southern Gardens Citrus wants to use an engineered form of a virus that devastates citrus fruit to attack a bacterium that spells even worse consequences for oranges. CRISPR may also be deployed against this citrus greening disease that’s ravaged American orange production, according to Nature.

“[Some] projects aim to edit the genome of citrus trees using CRISPR–Cas9 to make them more resistant to the pest, or engineer trees to express defense genes or short RNA molecules that prevent disease transmission. Local growers have also helped to fund an international project that has sequenced citrus trees to hunt for more weapons against citrus greening,” writes the publication.

A tasty use for next-gen science, indeed. Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


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