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Ongoing project

A gene technology platform for disease resistance in horticultural tree crops (huanglongbing and Xylella) (AS21005)

Key research provider: Silvec Biologics

What's it all about?

This investment is introducing a new gene technology platform for disease resistance to Australia. The technology is best described as the equivalent of a vaccination for fruit and nut trees that could provide lifetime protection against diseases in horticultural tree crops such as Huanglongbing and Xylella.

Silvec Biologics is a US-based agricultural biotechnology company who have developed a method for immunising trees, vines, and bushes against diseases without genetically modifying them. Their product is based on RNA-based technology, similar to what was used in coronavirus vaccines for humans, that causes the tree's own cells to produce the chemicals that target specific pathogens. Researchers will combine this technology with elements of Bioclay to improve how the vaccine is introduced into the trees.

This investment will adapt this technology for use in Australia against the causal agents of Huanglongbing and Xylella by demonstrating stable performance and efficacy through field trials. The project team will then look to initiate the regulatory approval process, secure distribution channels, and educate stakeholders on RNA technology's benefits.