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The Associated Press January 18, 2011, 1:21PM ET

First-ever citrus genome sequences assembled

A University of Florida-led group of international scientists has assembled the genome sequences for two citrus varieties.

The sequencing, which was announced Tuesday, is a first for citrus. Scientists and citrus farmers hope that the new research will aid farmers who want better fruit flavor and quality, and unlock the secrets behind citrus diseases such as greening, which is a deadly threat to the state's $9 billion citrus industry.

The genome sequence was assembled for the sweet orange and the Clementine mandarin.

The $3.5 million research took four years and was announced over the weekend at the International Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego.

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