Blight-tolerant American chestnut tree: Latest biotech solution to nature’s assault on valued species

CHESTNUT articleLarge
Charles A. Maynard of the State University of New York at Syracuse among seedlings being bred to resist the blight that wiped out the American chestnut. Credit: Heather Ainsworth, via The New York Times.

A blight-tolerant American chestnut tree is the latest example of what the science community has begun to call a GRO—a genetically rescued organism. In the past century approximately four billion chestnut trees have been lost in the U.S. due to blight that spread when the Cryphonectria parasitica fungus arrived with chestnut trees imported from Asia. A once-dominant hardwood species is now rare.

Nature can be fickle, but using science to engineer solutions allows precise methods to combat natural pathogens. Some species are resistant to the fungus, and that’s why it makes sense to use transgenic tools to help the chestnut tree utilize beneficial genes from other plants—essentially vaccinating against the fungus.

Related article:  Anti-GMO activists brandish disputed Stone-Glover Golden Rice paper in attacks on Nobel laureates

The American chestnut isn’t the first plant to be snatched back from nature’s claws. Arguably the best-known example of a GRO in recent times is the rainbow papaya, engineered to be resistant to the ringspot virus that was devastating the Hawaiian Islands in the 1990s.

Read full, original article: Science Saves an Old Chestnut (Behind Paywall)

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Genetics Unzipped
Infographic: How dangerous COVID mutant strains develop

Infographic: How dangerous COVID mutant strains develop

Sometime in 2019, probably in China, SARS CoV-2 figured out a way to interact with a specific "spike" on the ...
Untitled

Philip Njemanze: Leading African anti-GMO activist claims Gates Foundation destroying Nigeria

Nigerian anti-GMO activist, physician, and inventor pushes anti-gay and anti-GMO ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend