Lead Protoplast Scientist
Soilcea is creating CRISPR-edited citrus trees that are resistant to the citrus industry’s deadliest diseases. Two bacterial diseases, citrus canker and Huanglongbing (greening), are decimating the Florida citrus industry, having already destroyed millions of trees, cost the state billions in lost revenue, and reduced by 33% average yield per acre. Soilcea has exclusive licenses to patents from the University of Florida to cure these deadly pathogens using CRISPR precision breeding.
The USDA recently issued guidance that it will not regulate CRISPR precision breeding that could occur naturally. Unlike traditional GMOs that involve inserting a foreign gene (like a bacterial gene) into a plant, Soilcea is using CRISPR breeding to make small deletions in genes that make a tree susceptible to citrus greening and canker. Nature constantly deletes DNA susceptible to diseases and slowly adopts the beneficial change through natural selection. At Soilcea, we are simply advancing a natural process in time to save the Florida citrus industry.
Yianni Lagos, JD/MBA/CFA
Chief Executive Officer
Renhou Wang, PhD
Head of Research
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