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New UF/IFAS Study Looks to the Past to Get to the 'Root' of Citrus Greening

Whole citrus on the stem
Courtesy, Dr. Fred Gmitter, UF/IFAS Florida Citrus Research and Education Center
In the ongoing race to find a solution to the devastating citrus greening disease, University of Florida scientists may find the path to the future by looking to the past.

The search for an answer to the citrus greening issue in Florida has researchers digging into the history books. A new study published in “Nature Communications” looks at older citrus varieties and how their rootstocks could prove useful in boosting yields in spite of the greening epidemic.

In this episode of Gulf Coast Life, we talk with Dr. Frederick Gmitter, Jr. with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Dr. Gemitter collaborated with an international team of scientists analyzing 69 genomes from the East Asian mandarin family, alongside their mainland Asian relatives, revealing a far-ranging story of isolation, long-distance travel, and hybridization. He joins us to explain how citrus fruits migrated over the millennia, how humans have impacted the fruits’ evolution, and ways the past could help guide us into a more fruitful future.