Ash dieback DNA breakthrough

Scientists have unravelled the genetic secrets of the Chalara ash dieback fungus.

April 5, 2013

UK scientists have thrown a lifeline to our ash trees by completing the first sequencing of the Chalara fraxinea genome - the fungus currently attacking ash trees across Europe.

In just a few weeks the scientists have unravelled the genetic secrets of the Chalara ash dieback fungus. This will help them understand how the pathogen attacks ash and may help in the fight against the epidemic. The data is freely available on crowd sourcing website OpenAshDieBack, which allows experts across the globe to identify specific genes and the roles they play in other organisms.

The scientists are also looking to map the genes of ash trees showing resistance to Chalara. In Denmark 2 percent of ash trees infected by the fungus have survived. The type, known as Tree 35, could provide the key for the survival of ash in our landscapes.

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