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Mon Jul 15, 2013, 12:33 PM

Like-Minded Rivals Race to Bring Back an American Icon (American Chestnut)

By MICHAEL WINES
Published: July 13, 2013

FORCE, Pa. — Capping decades of research, two groups of plant breeders and geneticists appear to have arrived independently within reach of the same arboreal holy grail: creating an American chestnut tree that can, at long last, withstand the devastating fungus blight that wiped the trees out by the billions in the first half of the 20th century.

On 30 steeply sloped acres here in rural Pennsylvania, a thousand potentially blight-resistant chestnut seedlings are sprouting with thousands of other hardwoods planted in May by the American Chestnut Foundation, a nonprofit group in Asheville, N.C., dedicated to the tree’s restoration.

The seedlings, Chinese-American hybrids, are among 14,000 chestnut trees being set atop reclaimed Appalachian strip mines through the end of 2014. The deployment, by far the largest to date, is seen as a crucial test of the tree’s ability to go it alone in wild forests full of predators and other species of trees competing for sunlight and nutrients.

At the same time, scientists at the State University of New York at Syracuse are readying new trials of an entirely different chestnut — not a hybrid, but one that has been modified with a gene from wheat that enables it to produce a blight-fighting enzyme.

That tree has also performed well in early tests. With approval of the federal Agriculture Department, researchers hope to begin a controlled field trial at a different reclaimed mine site as early as this autumn, in part to test the tree’s adaptability to harsh soils.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/14/us/like-minded-rivals-race-to-bring-back-an-american-icon.html?src=recg

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Reply Like-Minded Rivals Race to Bring Back an American Icon (American Chestnut) (Original post)
n2doc Jul 2013 OP
dbackjon Jul 2013 #1
Judi Lynn Jul 2013 #2
greiner3 Jul 2013 #3
Ganja Ninja Jul 2013 #5
X_Digger Jul 2013 #4

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 07:17 PM

1. Very cool - here's to a Chestnut-laden forest in the future

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 04:11 PM

2. Great news. Have never even seen a chestnut tree. Found these images:

They are absolutely wonderful.







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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Jul 25, 2013, 08:52 PM

3. "Under a spreading Chestnut tree;

The village smithy stands.

With large and sinewy arms has he..."

That's all I can remember.

My grandmother lived in Buffalo and her street had Chestnut trees lining both sides of the street.

One year we visited and all the trees had been chopped down.

I was about 10 at the time and seem to remember, vaguely, that I might have understood what had happened.

I also understand there was a Dutch Elm tree that was found recently growing, well, growing.

I am not sure if it is disease resistant or just happened to be so far away from any other Dutch Elm when the disease wiped out every other Elm tree.

Naturally the location of this lone tree was kept secret from the general public but I'm waiting for news that this tree too will be making a comeback.

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Response to greiner3 (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 29, 2013, 10:16 AM

5. It would be great to see the Elms come back.

I remember watching them die when I was a kid and I think it's hard for people to imagine how prevalent they were before they died out.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Jul 26, 2013, 10:17 PM

4. The NC version is especially interesting..

Chinese x American hybrid, back bred with American again and again to try to retain the blight resistance, but grow like an American version.

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