I’ve reported many time on efforts to restore the American chestnut with a genetically modified version that isn’t affected by the blight. (Here’s a story from last June.) If approved by regulators, it was going to be the first GMO tree released in the wild.
The NY Times has a story today that I spotted via Slashdot, concerning poplar trees that have been genetically modified to grow faster and are being planted in Georgia. How’d they get approval so fast?
But for the trees they planted in Georgia, they turned to an older and cruder technique known as the gene gun method, which essentially blasts foreign genes into the trees’ chromosomes. … The gene gun-modified poplars avoided a set of federal regulations of genetically modified organisms that can stall biotech projects for years. (Those regulations have since been revised.)
Must be frustrating for the
Cornell SUNY and Maine scientists who have been patiently wading through regulations with their CRISPR-edited chestnuts.
The story notes that so far the trees have only been grown in greenhouses and “experience over the years is that the greenhouse means almost nothing about the outdoor prospects of trees whose physiology has been modified” so we’ll see what happens.
“Must be frustrating for the Cornell / Maine scientists who have been patiently wading through regulations with their CRISPR-edited chestnuts.”
I’m sorry – I missed that – can you post the link to the story of that research?
All I could find about related research in NY state was a The American Chestnut Foundation promotion of SUNY’s Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) work on oxalate oxidase to enhance blight tolerance significantly by breeding, and then an off-hand comment that “TACF and its partners are also investigating the incorporation of CRISPR and other gene-editing technologies for restoration purposes.”
Elsewhere, there’s a “first report” article from a Brazilian team on getting CRISPR proteins into European Chestnut cells.
Nothing about Cornell and Maine though.
You’re right – not Cornell but SUNY. I’ve fixed that. In Maine they’re growing trees to prepare for wild plantings.
Hm – still not seeing the CRISPR part. According to their 2014 paper, the SUNY team used standard Agrobacterium transformation of chestnut tree cells by the OxO transgene. That technology’s been used for a while – it’s definitely not CRISPR based.