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    American Chestnut Trees Genetically Modified to Resist Fungus

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    American chestnut trees were devastated by an invasive fungus that reportedly killed over three billion trees within fifty years. Before being mostly wiped out by the fungus, about one out of every four trees in the Eastern United States was a chestnut.

    American chestnut trees were devastated by an invasive fungus that reportedly killed over three billion trees within fifty years.

    Before being mostly wiped out by the fungus, about one out of every four hardwood trees in the Eastern United States was a chestnut.

    Researchers from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry have genetically modified chestnut trees to be resistant to the fungus, which might be an effective method for reforesting the native trees.

    The genetically modified trees are almost identical to the American chestnut tree, but by using genes from other plants like wheat, the trees aren’t susceptible to being killed by the fungus

    Another way that the researchers are trying to make the trees resistant to the fungus is by cross breeding the American chestnut with a species of Chinese chestnut that has developed a natural resistance to the fungus.

    Although the results are promising thus far, the scientists still have to get federal approval before planting the GMO chestnut trees in the wild.