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Started by Onslow, February 23, 2019, 14:00:50 PM
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QuoteIn 1990, SUNY ESF tree geneticists William Powell and Charles Maynard (now retired) decided to try to create resistant chestnuts with the then-new technology of genetic engineering. Eventually, they inserted into the tree's genome a wheat gene that codes for an enzyme called oxalate oxidase, or OxO. It breaks down the oxalic acid the pathogen releases, which is what kills the trees. "We're basically taking the weapon away from the fungus," Powell says.Researchers seal off the flowers of a chestnut carrying a wheat gene that neutralizes a fungal toxin. ANDREW NEWHOUSEIt didn't work at first. Then, the scientists changed the wheat gene's promoter sequence to cause OxO to be expressed at high levels. In 2014, they reported that a GM tree named Darling 58 both resisted blight infection and transmitted resistance to its offspring. Subsequent tests showed that it produces nuts indistinguishable from those of native trees, Newhouse says. And its pollen, flowers, and decaying leaves don't harm bees, beneficial soil fungi, or tadpoles that hatch in pools on the forest floor.But the request to release it is likely to face a lengthy regulatory road. The United States, China, and Brazil have approved some transgenic trees for use in fruit orchards, biofuel plantations, and afforestation projects. But like GM crops and animals, GM trees are controversial, and ethical and ecological concerns are heightened because the chestnut trees would grow wild. Regulators from three federal agencies are likely to take a close look at those concerns. USDA officials, for instance, will seek to determine whether the tree could become a weed or otherwise threaten existing plants. The Food and Drug Administration will study whether the tree's fruit is safe to eat, and the Environmental Protection Agency will consider whether the trees' blight-blocking enzyme should be regulated as a fungicide.
Quote from: Beetle on February 24, 2019, 12:34:31 PMThe Bryant family is trying hard with the Chestnuts in Nelson County. Doug, do you know them? Iâ€™m considering taking the class on June 8th. Check it outhttps://virginiachestnuts.com/