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Fire-blight resistant apples (ZTH : University of Zurich)

21 March 2014

 

Researchers from ETH Zurich and the Julius Kühn Institute in Germany have created the first fire-blight-resistant apple. With the aid of so-called cis-genetic engineering, they transfered a resistance gene from a wild apple into the genome of a Gala apple.

A single gene provides a sufficient protection. But more resistance genes are requested to make it doubly sure and to avoid resistance.

The researchers also know that consumers are reluctant to agree with GM techniques. but, as they state “Consumers have to realise that an organically grown Gala apple is treated with copper and sulphur at least twenty-five times, which has a serious impact on the soils, air and groundwater. Scab and fire-blight-resistant cis-gene Gala apples do not have to be treated in this way, making them more environmentally friendly than their bio-counterparts.”

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Une pomme infectée par le feu bactériejn (Photo: S. Stabinger / Wikimedia Commons)

Une pomme infectée par le feu bactériejn (Photo: S. Stabinger / Wikimedia Commons)