Scientists with the University of California (UC) Riverside look to use a disease like a Trojan horse for combating citrus greening.

Citrus yellow vein disease was discovered over six decades ago in Riverside, California, but it’s not been seen anywhere else in the world. Now, researchers with the University of California (UC) Riverside are looking into the possibility of using the disease like a Trojan horse for combating citrus disease, according to a Citrus Greening article. Explore the details below.

Combating Citrus Greening With Citrus Yellow Vein Disease

UC researchers are hoping to harness the RNA of citrus yellow vein disease to hide a sequence that could be used for combating citrus greening and other citrus diseases. The research was published in the Journal Frontiers in Microbiology. The article quotes Georgios Vidalakis, a plant pathology professor at UC Riverside and investigator on the published paper in giving the backstory of the research.

He said, “He [Lewis Weathers, a UC Riverside plant pathology professor] found four limequat trees with beautiful, bright veins on their leaves, almost fluorescent yellow. That color was recognized as a disease, and samples of it were deposited at the Citrus Clonal Protection Program disease bank where it was waiting for us to study decades later…”

The pathogen, which is also being studied to ensure it is benign and won’t affect factors like fruit quality, fruit quantity, tree height, or other health markers, has a “small, independently mobile RNA” called iRNA. RNA “reads” the data in a cell’s DNA and uses it like a map to create proteins that carry out different functions. Researchers are hoping the pathogen can be used to send a message via iRNA that will tell cells to create proteins that can combat citrus greening and/or other citrus diseases.