More David Karp, this time on citrus greening
Here--before I let another one slip by:
Deadly Pathogen Harms Florida Citrus Groves (New York Times)
I really shouldn't enjoy something so horrible and damaging, but I still kind of get a kick out of the name huanglongbing. I'm so easily amused.
This disease has been hovering on the margins for a while now, having been reported in Miami three years ago, and it was just a matter of time until the panic struck the industry in a big way. And with good reason--unlike citrus canker, which is mostly a cosmetic problem, greening truly ruins fruit and trees. Florida's citrus industry is in bad enough shape already--many growers have sold out to developers in recent years (one grower told me that his kids could work his groves for thirty more years and not make as much money as he could make selling the land, although that was three years ago, before real estate tanked).
This, to me, is a perfect case for transgenics. There are essentially no resistant cultivars, no real obvious cultural solutions (aside from the "plant 'em close together and get what you can before they all die method" which strikes me as dubious and inefficient, and the "plant 'em with guava" method, which seems unlikely but would have the nice side benefit of putting more guava on the market if it did.) Breeding citrus (as I've mentioned before) is not a simple or easy thing to do, and even if it was, varieties capable of truly replacing those currently in place in Florida are almost certainly a couple generations away. Assuming you could convince people to replant at all.