Category Archives: plants

Should we resurrect the American chestnut tree with genetic engineering?

Should we resurrect the American chestnut tree with genetic engineering?
These “sibling” pairs of trees only differ in whether they have the blight-tolerant gene. These are grown at the Lafayette Road Experiment Station in Syracuse, N.Y. TNS

Original Post in the LA Times – June 25, 2019

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The wild chestnuts around this leafy college town used to grow in such great numbers that locals collected the nuts by the bushel and shipped them off to New York City for a small fortune.

These days, though, it can be hard to find a single tree thanks to a devastating blight imported from Asia in the late 1800s.

“Every fall, I look for the burs,” said Neil Patterson of the Tuscarora Nation, a Native American tribe that has lived in the region for centuries. His ancestors depended on the trees for food and medicine. But in 10 years of searching, he’s never found the spiny pods that hold the chestnut’s prized fruit.

Soon, scientists at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry here could change that. They say they’ve found a way to resurrect the chestnut by giving it a gene Continue reading Should we resurrect the American chestnut tree with genetic engineering?