Dr. Choaa El-Mohtar
Research Assistant Scientist
My program works mainly with the development and the deployment of CTV infectious clones for basic science research and practical purposes (HLB/Asian citrus psyllid control). For basic science research, CTV field isolates are mainly populations of different strains that have different phenotypes in different citrus host species. Using different strains of CTV infectious clones and citrus hosts, we are trying to elucidate the long distance movement and complex interactions that occur within a single citrus host among the different strains of CTV.
For practical purposes, the citrus industry in Florida is crippled by citrus greening/HLB and its efficient accumulation and spread by the asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri. Both HLB and CTV are associated with the phloem tissue. We are attempting to mitigate the HLB effect on citrus production by using the CTV-T36 infectious clone as a delivery machine of potential therapeutic sequences to induce plant resistance and target HLB and ACP.