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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research » Research » Research Project #435979

Research Project: Fort Pierce Field Site for Validating HLB and/or ACP Resistance

Location: Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research

Project Number: 6034-21000-018-021-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 1, 2019
End Date: Dec 31, 2021

Transgenic strategies for controlling huanglongbing (HLB) and its psyllid vector will be tested in a secure environment in which ideal care is provided for the invaluable research material in full compliance with regulatory requirements. Non-transgenic citrus with reasonable probability of resistance, will be tested and may provide tolerant or resistant planting materials with fewer regulatory constraints. This care will be provided with no compromise to the research teams' ownership of tested intellectual property and no USDA/ARS expectation of inclusion in the related patents secured when USDA/ARS was not involved in development of the plant materials, expression vectors or other material tested.

The Picos Farm of the U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory in Ft. Pierce, Florida, is ideal for establishing a test site. It has been decided that the best use of this site is to test for huanglongbing/psyllid resistance and control and therefore HLB infected trees are not removed and many citrus blocks are not receiving psyllid control sprays. This site will be available to University of Florida, TAMU, ARS, and other bonafide researchers as space permits. In addition to transgenic trees, some non-transgenic citrus with reasonable probability of resistance, will be tested. The farm perimeter is secured by a heavy gauge fence topped by barbed wire and requires a passcode to enter the gate both day and night. Ongoing security and routine care of the test plots will be provided for 10 acres of test plots. Routine irrigation, fertilization, and pest control will be provided as specified by sponsoring researcher, if necessary, we will remove any flower buds on transgenic trees prior to opening. Access will be facilitated so that researchers will be able to collect data. Farm staff and the technician employed in this project will be fully trained in understanding regulations regarding handling of transgenic field trials. Each research team will develop their own data collection protocols but will be encouraged to follow recent guidelines developed by the collective citrus breeding research community.