NY Times on Saving the Orange

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The orange groves in Florida are in trouble. A disease called Citrus Greening is destroying the fruit, the trees, and the future of the industry in the state. Scientists are turning to genetic engineering to create a solution to this problem, but will it work, and will people accept it? Amy Harmon excellently tells the story at the New York Times.

A Race to Save the Orange by Altering Its DNA

Frank-green-orange
Frank wants to save the oranges

CLEWISTON, Fla. — The call Ricke Kress and every other citrus grower in Florida dreaded came while he was driving.

“It’s here” was all his grove manager needed to say to force him over to the side of the road.

The disease that sours oranges and leaves them half green, already ravaging citrus crops across the world, had reached the state’s storied groves. Mr. Kress, the president of Southern Gardens Citrus, in charge of two and a half million orange trees and a factory that squeezes juice for Tropicana and Florida’s Natural, sat in silence for several long moments.

“O.K.,” he said finally on that fall day in 2005, “let’s make a plan.”

Fill a glass full of orange juice, and give it a good read, and let us know what you think.

Follow Karl Haro von Mogel:

Karl earned his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics at UW-Madison, with a minor in Life Science Communication. His dissertation was on both the genetics of sweet corn and plant genetics outreach. He recently moved back to his home state of California. His favorite produce might just be squash.