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Crop Biotech Update

ESF Scientists Develop Transgenic American Chestnut Trees

March 15, 2017

American chestnut (Castanea dentate) used to be a dominant species in the U.S. until the trees were attacked by chestnut blight caused by a fungus (Cryphonectria parasitica). Scientists at College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) of the State University of New York developed transgenic American chestnut trees which can withstand the invasive blight.

Prof. William Powell, one of the scientists who developed the transgenic tree, said that his team is currently working on the regulatory approval from the federal government to distribute the transgenic trees to the public. He expects that the process will take two to four years to complete.

"We're paving the way for all the other trees that are affected by invasive species: ash, elm, hemlock and walnut among them," he said. "We are the first to ask for approval for a genetically engineered wild tree, the first to go through the regulatory process."

Read the media release from ESF.