Investing in Artificial Intelligence

Jim Rogers Breeding, Technology

By J. Scott Angle,, @IFAS_VP University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) breeders produce new citrus plants more quickly than they can figure out if consumers like how the new fruit varieties taste. In the race to create versus evaluate, creators lead evaluators by hundreds of individual plants at a time. It takes a post-doc a …

Citrus Breeding Program Funded in California

Jim Rogers Breeding, California Corner

New federal funding of $1 million will establish a citrus breeding program in California. The program will be at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) field station in Parlier. It will identify new citrus varieties that are best suited for changing climatic pressures such as drought, consumer taste preferences, and resistance to pests and diseases such …

HLB Resistance Is Citrus Breeding Program’s Primary Focus

Jim Rogers Breeding

Citrus breeding is conducted at different research facilities across Florida. But the objective remains the same for University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) breeders: Develop HLB-resistant citrus. That is the goal for Jose Chaparro, UF/IFAS associate professor in Gainesville. His research will impact citrus produced in the North Florida and South Georgia regions. “If you look …

CRISPR Research Update for HLB and Canker

Jim Rogers Breeding, Florida Citrus Commission, Research

Yianni Lagos, chief executive officer of Soilcea, told the Florida Citrus Commission (FCC) in October about his company’s efforts to use CRISPR gene editing to aid the citrus industry in its struggles with canker and HLB. Soilcea was founded to find solutions to these citrus diseases. The company has exclusive licenses to patents from the University of Florida to cure …

Citrus Breeding Discussed During Field Day

Jim Rogers Breeding, CUPS, Fresh

The focus of citrus breeding at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) differs for fruit produced for the juice market vs. fruit for the fresh market. Citrus breeder Jude Grosser, a UF/IFAS professor of plant cell genetics, spoke during the Cold-Hardy Citrus Field Day at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy on …

Canker Resistance Progress May Help With HLB

Jim Rogers Breeding, Diseases

A team of researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has successfully identified the CsDMR6 gene, which impacts a citrus tree’s reaction to the citrus canker pathogen. Zhanao Deng and Fred Gmitter, both professors and plant breeders, are members of that team.  By editing the CsDMR6 gene in the plant’s DNA to interfere with …

CRDF Receives Recommendations on Plant Breeding

Jim Rogers Breeding, Research

By Rick Dantzler Several months ago, the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) convened a panel of plant-breeding experts from across the country to help us decide where to spend what appears to be a diminishing amount of money for plant breeding. The co-chairs presented their recommendations on Feb. 22 to the CRDF board of directors. The first recommendation was …

Citrus History Mystery Solved

Ernie Neff Breeding, Research

How modern citrus developed, particularly the popular mandarin variety, has long been a mystery to citrus breeders. A global partnership of scientists recently unraveled a big part of the mystery by analyzing the genome sequences of 69 East Asian traditional, wild and atypical citrus varieties. One of the researchers was Fred Gmitter, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural …


CRDF on Plant Breeding and Peptides

Ernie Neff Breeding, CRDF, Peptides

Plant breeding, project terminations and peptide discussions dominated the July 27 meeting of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation’s (CRDF) board of directors. CRDF Chief Operating Officer Rick Dantzler provided the following report: PLANT BREEDINGWe continue to believe that plant breeding will ultimately be how we put HLB in the rearview mirror. As a result, we continue to put a …

Improving Plant Improvement

Ernie Neff Breeding

Many in the Florida citrus industry have long believed that development of trees that are resistant to or tolerant of HLB is the key to coping with the devastating disease. In Florida, most of the work on developing such trees is conducted by researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and the U.S. Department …


Speeding Up Citrus Growth

Tacy Callies Breeding

Two University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researchers will study citrus roots and stems to improve photosynthesis in plant leaves. Christopher Vincent and Fred Gmitter hope to find the optimal relationship between citrus tree “sources” and “sinks” so that plant breeders can select varieties — and growers can use practices — that lead to faster-growing plants. …

Breeding Hybrids With HLB Resistance

Len Wilcox Breeding, California Corner

UC Riverside scientists are working to breed new fruits that are naturally resistant to huanglongbing (HLB). The hybrid fruits will ideally share the best of their parents’ attributes: the tastiness of citrus and the HLB resistance displayed by some Australian relatives of citrus. HLB, also called citrus greening disease, has been detected in California, where 80 percent of the country’s …

Update on CRISPR Research for Citrus Improvement

Tacy Callies Breeding

By Nian Wang, Fred Gmitter and Manjul Dutt Nearly all commercially important citrus types — oranges, grapefruits etc. — have originated by mutations that have accumulated over several hundreds to thousands of years, from what once was an original, individual sweet orange tree and a single grapefruit tree. The many different cultivars that we know today are descended from those …

Sequencing Brings HLB Resistance Closer

Ernie Neff Breeding, Research

University of Florida (UF) scientists achieved a major milestone in their quest to develop an HLB-resistant tree by sequencing the genome of a fruit plant that’s a close cousin to citrus trees. HLB is also known as greening disease. UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers sequenced the genome from trifoliate orange, in collaboration with scientists from the University …


New UF/IFAS Plant Breeding Website

Ernie Neff Breeding

Fred Gmitter, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) professor of breeding and genetics, has released several mandarin citrus varieties. Most recently, he released the Marathon variety in 2018. The citrus fruit’s ability to hang onto the tree for an extended period led researchers to give it the Marathon moniker. Gmitter is one of numerous scientists …

Working Toward Better Orange Juice in the HLB World

Tacy Callies Breeding, Orange Juice, Varieties

By Jude Grosser, Fred Gmitter, Yu Wang and Bill Castle It’s no secret that huanglongbing (HLB) has challenged the industry to maintain the outstanding quality associated with Florida orange juice. Moreover, increased prices and competition from new juice products and blends have reduced Florida orange juice consumption. We believe that improving the quality, especially flavor and color, of juice products …


Grapefruit: A Breeder’s Thoughts

Ernie Neff Breeding, Grapefruit

Grapefruit’s struggle with survival and potential future were addressed by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) breeder and geneticist Fred Gmitter earlier this year. He told Florida Citrus Show attendees that the fruit has hit the bottom with HLB. “I was talking with one of the old-time families in the grapefruit business, one of the biggest …


New Mandarin Gives Growers Advantages

Daniel Cooper Breeding, Research

Commercial citrus growers will soon see a new seedless mandarin variety that stays on the tree longer, two traits farmers seek, say University of Florida scientists. Marathon, an early season mandarin, is also easy to peel and tastes good, said Fred Gmitter, a professor of breeding and genetics at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). …


Citrus Breeding in Uruguay

Ernie Neff Breeding

A primary job for scientists breeding citrus in Uruguay is to help the approximately 42,000-acre industry develop fresh fruit for export, Fernando Rivas said at a recent international citrus breeders symposium in Lake Alfred, Florida. Rivas works for Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural Research. On. Dec. 4, Rivas told an audience of about 70 at the Citrus Research and Education …


Italian Citrus Breeding

Ernie Neff Breeding

Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) began spreading in Sicily in the early 2000s because the Italian citrus industry’s standard rootstock was CTV-susceptible sour orange, reported Marco Caruso at a recent symposium of international citrus breeders. Consequently, approximately 74,000 acres will be replanted with CTV-tolerant rootstocks over the next few years, he said. Caruso, a citrus breeding expert with Italy’s Research Centre …