“Recent coverage in the national news media is reporting the very real possibility of the end of orange juice”
Key players will converge on Texas A&M University June 4-6 to chart the course for the release of improved fruits and vegetables designed to head off deadly plant diseases and lead the world to a second Green Revolution, according to Dr. Bill McCutchen, executive associate director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research.
The North American Agricultural Biotechnology Council’s 25th annual conference, “Biotechnology and North American Specialty Crops: Linking Research, Regulation and Stakeholders,” will be held at the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M, College Station.
Stakeholders, including scientific researchers, government officials and industry leaders, will gather to discuss the role of biotechnology and regulatory policy in improving agriculture to continue feeding a growing world population, according to McCutchen.
“Recent coverage in the national news media is reporting the very real possibility of the end of orange juice, due to citrus greening, an incurable plant disease that’s ravaging the Florida citrus industry,” McCutchen said. “But biotechnology has overcome that so-called incurable disease in a way traditional plant breeding cannot.”
By moving genetic material from spinach to citrus, Dr. Erik Mirkov, an AgriLife Research scientist in South Texas, has developed a citrus tree resistant to citrus greening, McCutchen said.
“And that’s just one example,” he said. “Through the use of biotechnology, scientists have developed improved, transgenic varieties of apples, pineapples, potatoes, squash and other specialty crops with disease resistance and other favorable traits.”
Fruits and vegetables are the next wave of transgenic food crops that will provide a way to help producers keep pace with world population growth, McCutchen said.
“This conference will link those scientists working in biotechnology throughout North America with industry leaders and individuals in regulatory agencies to get these products to consumers so we don’t wake up to a morning some day without orange juice or other food products that keep us healthy.”
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