The Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias (IVIA) and the Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas (IBMCP) will develop three research projects for the prevention of HLB in citrus.
The three research projects are called ‘Expression of peptides with antibacterial activity for the control of Huanglongbing (HLB) of citrus using a viral vector’, ‘Genetic improvement of citrus varieties with resistance to Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ and ‘Editing of citrus protoplasts using CRISPR/Cas technology’.
The project ‘Expression of peptides with antibacterial activity for the control of citrus huanglongbing by means of a viral vector’ uses a genetic transmission tool developed by the IVIA and based on a virus to activate the production by the plant of small proteins (peptides) that have properties against the bacterium that produces HLB.
Through the ‘Genetic improvement of citrus varieties with resistance to Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ the long-term aim is to obtain mandarin varieties resistant to the bacterium that causes the HLB disease, through classic sexual hybridisation and selection of resistant hybrids with molecular markers.
The third project, ‘Editing citrus protoplasts using CRISPR/Cas technology’ aims to establish a methodology for CRISPR-mediated genetic editing of protoplasts.
According to current knowledge, CRISPR is the gene-editing technique of the future to obtain plant material for high-quality agricultural production, resistant to pests and diseases and with the minimum consumption of resources, according to sources from the regional government.