Researchers have a new tool to combat citrus Huanglongbing (HLB), a disease threatening the nation's $2.2 billion citrus industry. Agricultural Research Service scientists have sequenced the genome of the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, which causes HLB. The bacterium resides in the plant's phloem tissues, affecting the passage of nutrients and eventually killing the plant.
Plant pathologist Yong-Ping Duan and research leader David Hall, at the ARS U.S. Horticultural Research Lab in Fort Pierce, Fla., have sequenced more than 95 percent of the bacterium's genome and have posted results in GenBank, an online database of genetic resources. They are currently sequencing the remaining 5 percent and plan to publish a paper describing what the genome reveals about the bacterium's taxonomy, evolution and some of its enzymatic pathways.
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