Researchers Plan to Release Transgenic Chestnut to Save the TreeSeptember 5, 2018
American chestnut once dominated North American forests until a fungal infection called chestnut blight appeared in the 1900s and essentially killed the species. In 1990, tree geneticists William Powell and Charles Maynard of SUNY ESF started "taking the weapon away from the fungus" by inserting the wheat gene for oxalate oxidase or OxO through genetic engineering. OxO breaks down oxalic acid, which is released by the pathogens and is the compound that kills the trees. In 2014, the group released Darling 58, a transgenic chestnut with heritable blight resistance trait.
The plan received mixed reactions from its audience, with experts saying that the approval process would be long, cultural and spiritual aspects should also be considered, and the evolution of the fungus is at risk. The SUNY ESF group countered the last, as they said that their tree does not kill the fungus. By contrast, conventional chestnut breeder Jared Westbrook of the American Chestnut Foundation supported the idea, saying that the transgenic tree is better at deterring the disease compared with traditionally bred ones.
For more information, read the article in Science.
The Crop Biotech Update is a weekly newsletter of ISAAA, a non-for-profit organization. The CBU is distributed for free to over 23,000 subscribers worldwide to inform them about the key developments in biosciences, especially in agricultural biotechnology. Your support will help us in our mission to feed the world with knowledge. You can help by donating as little as $10.
See more articles:
News from Around the World
- Warming Climate to Increase Crop Losses Due to Insect Pests
- World's Top Universities Join Forces to Fight Hunger
- Farmer Leader in Ghana Shifts Support to Agri-biotech After Getting Facts
- Researchers Find New Genes in Soybean Linked to Aphid Resistance
- Brazilian Court Lifts Glyphosate Ban
- Study: 20 Years of GM Adoption in Brazil Increased Farmers' Profits, Boosted Economy, and Preserved the Environment
- Sorghum's Weed-Killing Power Transferred to Rice
- Scientists Find Molecule for Boosting Plant Growth With Less Nitrogen
- Research Sheds Light on Plant Signaling
- Plastomes Reveal How Eggplants Became Asian
- Scientists Develop CasPER, a Method for Enzyme Modification
- Two Methods Used in Finding Capsaicinoid Candidate Genes in Hot Pepper
Plant Breeding Innovations
- Scientists Edit Gene for Plant Height in Tomato
- Cas9 and Cas12a Compared in Targeted Gene Editing in Maize
- Method for Production of Non-transgenic Gene-edited Plants, Developed for Cloned Plants
Beyond Crop Biotech
- Researchers Plan to Release Transgenic Chestnut to Save the Tree
- Opium Poppy Genome Decoded
- 2018 International Conference on Biotechnology and Bioengineering (ICBB2018)
Subscribe to CBU: