Could biotech bring back the American chestnut?

The following is an excerpt.

Once upon a time, according to folklore, a squirrel could travel through America’s chestnut forests from Maine to Florida without ever touching the ground. The chestnut population of North America was reckoned then to have been about 4 billion trees.

No longer. Axes and chainsaws must take a share of the blame. But the principal culprit is Cryphonectria parasitica, the fungus that causes chestnut blight. In the late 19th century, some infected saplings from Asia brought C. parasitica to North America. By 1950 the chestnut was little more than a memory in most parts of the continent.

American chestnuts may, however, be about to rise again—thanks to genetic engineering. This month three experimental patches will be planted, under the watchful eye of the Department of Agriculture, in Georgia, New York and Virginia.

View the original article here: Into the Wildwood

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