Senator to meet research leaders

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Carl Collen

BY CARL COLLEN

Senator to meet research leaders

Bill Nelson visiting Lake Alfred to meet with researchers who may be on the cusp of finding a cure to citrus greening

Senator to meet research leaders

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US Senator Bill Nelson is visiting the University of Florida's Citrus Research and Education Center at Lake Alfred today (19 October) to meet with a group of research scientists who may be on the cusp of finding a cure to the deadly citrus greening disease decimating Florida's nearly US$11bn citrus industry.

Nelson's visit comes just days after the US Department of Agriculture predicted a significant decline in Florida's orange crop next season, which would make it the state's smallest yield in decades.

Nelson, who was instrumental in getting Congress to approve US$125m for citrus greening research in 2014 and an additional US$7.5m in the budget deal passed last year, will meet with researchers to get a firsthand look at a gene-editing tool they are using to eliminate the genes that make a citrus tree vulnerable to greening.

The researchers say that use of this new gene-editing tool, known as CRISPR, has been a significant breakthrough in their quest to find a cure for the deadly citrus disease and could help shave decades off the time it will take to produce citrus trees that are immune to greening.

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