Biotechnology could save trees decimated by invasive insects, disease

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. . .[A]ccording to [Tom Tidwell, chief of the USDA Forest Service], the threats [to forests] posed by invasive insects and diseases will inevitably increase in the future due to increased international trade and climate change.

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. . . . Genetically modified trees that are resistant to viruses and other forest pests could help to restore tree populations, some of which have been decimated in recent decades.

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. . . .Andrew Newhouse, a PhD student at SUNY-ESF, explained work that is being done on American chestnuts, eastern hemlocks, ash trees, walnut trees, and American elms.

Scientists determined that a gene found in wheat, called OxO, can enhance resistance to fungi. OxO. . . was then introduced into the American chestnut. . . Trees with the OxO gene. . . are resistant to blight, and they do not require fungicides or other chemical treatments. . . .

. . . . The USDA Forest Service has also conducted research on Bt ash trees, and. . .some have shown resistance to emerald ash borers and to Japanese beetles.

Read full, original post: Can Genetically Modified Trees Save American Forests?

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