Genetics and Tax Incentives Being Used to Combat Deathly Citrus Greening Disease

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In Florida, the world’s biggest citrus research facility, the Citrus Research and Education Center is garnering some attention from politicians with a recent visit from Senator Bill Nelson. University of Florida associate professor of microbiology and cell science, Nian Wang, is using molecular technology and genetic altering of the citrus trees at the Center so they can better ward off diseases like the deathly “citrus greening.” The greening bacterial disease is killing many of the citrus groves in Florida, but only being replaced at about a 50% rate because it is taking too long to get a federal tax write-off to replace them. That’s where Senator Nelson stepped in and promised to try and change the tax law during an upcoming lame duck session so citrus growers can deduct the costs and replace the trees more quickly.