Transgenic American Chestnut Lecture

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Rand
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Transgenic American Chestnut Lecture

Post by Rand » Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:59 pm

The American chestnut tree was once one of the most abundant trees in the eastern forests of the United States, important to the ecosystem, agriculture and society. A little more than a century ago, this majestic tree was devastated by the chestnut blight, caused by an exotic pathogen from Asia. After 23 years of research, the State University of New York's College of Environmental Science and Forestry has developed American chestnut trees with enhanced blight resistance, using the tools of biotechnology. Dr. William Powell, head of the SUNY-ESF research team, discusses this pivotal step in returning this king of the forest and presents the background and current research on the American chestnut.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaKS04BwaYY

(1 hour long)

Joe

Re: Transgenic American Chestnut Lecture

Post by Joe » Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:31 am

"this majestic tree was devastated by the chestnut blight, caused by an exotic pathogen from Asia."

It was also, if not more, devastated by excessive cutting- when the blight started, the word went out to cut every chestnut because they were all going to die any way- which was a mistake, they should have left any that seemed resistent

Joe

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Transgenic American Chestnut Lecture

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:55 am

That's what bugs me about the way many foresters regard chestnut's close cousin beech around here. Just chop 'em and let them lie, because lord knows if they stay up the blight will spread, and when the blight kills them all their root sprouts will form dense thickets that shade out all the desirable timber-species seedlings. Never mind that the blight's been here for decades now, slow death by fungus creates less root sprouting than quick death by saw, and its ecological role through its life and beyond is even all the more valuable now in chestnut's absence. I guess it's the luck of the fads within the timber market (beech is a wonderful wood but presently unpopular) that it wasn't subject to a similar crazed salvage cutting. Of course, resistance to beech bark disease is a lot more widespread than resistance to chestnut blight, but still, if a beech in our area is large and still not afflicted, chances are it's resistant, and even some that get hit so hard they look corrugated keep chugging along and making nuts and leaves for a good long time. But still, they cut them and leave them to rot when they timber a woodlot, and then tell the owner they did them a favor. I've been working a bit for the retired county forester, and know some other foresters who are also ecologically sensitive, and they've been speaking against this practice ever since the fungus showed up. Amazing that it keeps on.

I look forward to listening to this lecture sometime soon, I believe I've seen some of these transgenic chestnuts in a small plantation near Zoar.

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Rand
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Re: Transgenic American Chestnut Lecture

Post by Rand » Sun Jul 20, 2014 5:23 pm

Joe wrote:"this majestic tree was devastated by the chestnut blight, caused by an exotic pathogen from Asia."

It was also, if not more, devastated by excessive cutting- when the blight started, the word went out to cut every chestnut because they were all going to die any way- which was a mistake, they should have left any that seemed resistent

Joe
I think the worst example of this is the American progenitor of the Dunstan Hybrid chestnut. It was a single seemingly resistant tree in Salem Ohio that was stumbled on by a perceptive individual who was able to collect pollen. A few years later the woodlot was logged by the owner and the tree was gone.

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Transgenic American Chestnut Lecture

Post by Erik Danielsen » Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:57 pm

A quick question: Is this lecture dependent on visuals in the video or could I download the audio track to listen to while I paint houses? My computer does not handle video well and I like to do some learning while performing otherwise monotonous work.

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Rand
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Re: Transgenic American Chestnut Lecture

Post by Rand » Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:55 pm

The slides are nice but it's still worth just listening to I think. Probably get about 70% that way.

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