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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Crop Improvement and Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #390291

Research Project: Molecular Genetic Tools Advancing the Application of Biotechnology for Crop Improvement

Location: Crop Improvement and Genetics Research

Title: Lilac limes: more than just a pretty fruit

item Thomson, James - Jim
item Thilmony, Roger

Submitted to: Citrograph
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2022
Publication Date: 4/1/2022
Citation: Thomson, J.G., Thilmony, R.L. 2022. Lilac limes: more than just a pretty fruit. Citrograph. 13(3):48-51. Available:

Interpretive Summary: .

Technical Abstract: Genetic technologies are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with scientists now able to precisely insert beneficial genes into plant genomes and accurately predict the activity of the new genes in the host plant. However, public acceptance has not kept up with the technological advancements in this field. Research at the USDA’s Western Regional Research Center has developed Lilac Limes using advanced genetic technology. Genetic elements (promoters) were discovered that could impart characteristics specifically in the fruit. These elements were used to produce the purple (Lilac) limes as a proof of concept using citrus derived DNA. Analysis of the fruit has shown no difference in pH, Brix or flavour of the fruit nor has it affected the health of the tree. This striking purple fruit could help to open dialogue with consumers and encourage greater acceptance of the use of genetic technology in food plants.