Transgenic Chestnuts

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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,218
Northern NH

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
708
Colorado
Sounds good and sounds bad but my problem is "I do not trust what anybody says nowadays"--I know its my problem but with how our news items are going and especially where big money is involved it gets suspicious..The poor chestnut tree and maybe they should look to like the article suggests to change the environment to a more healthy one so that it will grow naturally..The gene manipulation has been beneficial for many things and it is the future but wait until it involves humankind to a more drastic degree then maybe the comments might get more hefty against and like I said before "I am a pessimist" for I have my very own way of thinking about the future that I cannot write on this website for that "old begreen" ain't ready for it.. Meant as humor not insult...lol clancey
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,668
South Puget Sound, WA
Unfortunately, the disinformation from some sources makes it harder to discern the truth, but the truth is out there. And no, I don't want to hear a repeat of what the fringe sources are spewing.

Peakbagger. We have Asian chestnut trees out here that are thriving. Why make a genetic mod?
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,218
Northern NH
Sorry for the confusion, the American Chestnuts are the trees that got nearly wiped out by the blight. Asian Chestnuts are blight tolerant but they have a substantially different form than the American Chestnut. The approach to date has been to cross American Chestnuts with Asian Chestnuts to get the blight tolerance gene into the American Chestnut and try to breed out the other Asian characteristics to get a hybrid American Chestnut with the blight resistance. This takes decades and multiple pairings. The resulting blight resistance is not a yes/no characteristic it just a level of resistance, the resultant hybrids may look blight resistant as opposed to true American Chestnuts but put them under a bit of stress and the blight attacks them. The other approach is just grab seed stock from the few remaining chestnuts that appear blight tolerant and cross them with other survivors and breed a natural blight resistant tree. That approach has been going on for decades but progress has been painfully slow. The period of time the blight hides out in the environment is unknown so once it has gotten into an area its there for good. Chestnuts were transplanted to some area far remote from their natural range with enough geographic barriers that they survive, i believe there are instances around the country in the west coast that have mature American Chestnut stands that sell nuts for growing but they are not proven to be blight resistant as much as they have been isolated.

The transgenic approach uses technology to insert a gene or some other plant or animals types to cause blight resistance. Its high tech and some folks use various disinformation and social media techniques to scare other folks into the thinking that any genetic techniques are bad. The same folks buy Canola oil and eat products fried in Canola oil even though it was developed with similar techniques. Its been statistically doubtful that the conventional breeding techniques would restore the American Chestnut and the pros of being able to reintroduce it my be worth the infinitesimal risk that the additional gene transfer could introduce a harmful side effect. Of course they were stand dominant at one time so they could drive out other species that replaced them.
 
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EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
I dont think they'd drive the other species out, but they'd certainly start to fulfill the niche that the other trees are trying to fill.l
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,929
Marshall NC
My brother and I have been growing Dunstan Chestnuts for 7 years. Dr. Dunstan found a thriving native chestnut tree in Ohio, years ago. He crossed it with Chinese chestnut trees.

We are right in the middle of the former chestnut range. We have some trees that are 25 feet tall and quite healthy. The nuts are good when roasted.

What a catastrophe when the American Chestnut was obliterated, so many decades ago.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
766
Eastern Long Island NY
I remember seeing 6ft dia stumps in the ground in Eastern TN forests. And trunks on the ground still 4 ft dia, despite being there for decades. Would have been a beautiful sight, a forest with trees of that size.
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,626
WI, Leroy
That gene manipulation did not work out too well for the Banana industry. They have a serious problem now that could mean a world without any bananas as there is no original specimen to fall back on. Do not remember all the details but that is the gist of it. There is / was a grove of American Chestnut Trees in North Western WI. that survived the blight. Haven't looked it up lately.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,218
Northern NH
Bananas are not transgenic, there was a prior variety that got wiped out by a plant disease and the current variety was selected for its resistance to the disease. The big difference is bananas are all grown from cuttings from the mother plant (called pups), they are all effectively natural clones so when a new disease comes around all of the current variety get affected once the desease reaches them. There are other types of bananas out there, they just arent commercially grown.
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,929
Marshall NC
Yes, settlers carried chestnuts from the Appalachians to Wisconsin, and to Oregon back in the 19th century. There are thriving colonies of the chestnuts there, they have not been hit by the blight.
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,626
WI, Leroy
actually one of the groves has been hit.
 

Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
908
Massachusetts
Bring a wine addict this thread reminds me of the Great French Wine Blight in the 19th century. I'll link the wiki but in a nutshell a disease obliterated all the roots of the European vines however the American vines were resistant. You can't make the same wine with the American vine grapes so they grafted European vines onto American roots and it solved the problem. In fact, they are still doing this to this day as the disease still exists, along with hybridization.

 
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Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,929
Marshall NC
One of the Wisconsin groves has been hit by the blight? Well, that is not surprising, it is surprising that it has taken this long.
That grove out in Oregon was still up and running 10 years ago my brother bought some chestnuts from them.