The Return of the American Chestnut

By amason, Fri, 11/11/2016 - 8:07 pm

On Friday, November 18, the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society will host Dr. Allison Oakes from the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project for a presentation on the return of the American Chestnut, 7:30pm at the Elm Park United Methodist Church, 401 Chestnut Street, Oneonta, NY.

As a keystone species and mast-producing canopy tree, the loss of the American chestnut from the Eastern US was an ecological and economic disaster for the region more than a hundred years ago. This native species, once classified as functionally extinct, is now poised to make a comeback thanks to modern technology and ground-breaking research. The American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project will share their inspiring success story, and elaborate on how genetic engineering can benefit the fields of conservation and restoration.

allisonoakesDr. Allison Oakes is currently a postdoctoral research associate and maintains the production of micropropagated American chestnut shoots of over one hundred transgenic event lines, eight wild-type lines, and six hybrid lines. She is currently investigating the effect of different growth regulator concentrations on shoot development, and is continuing her dissertation research focus on improving rooting and acclimatization of American chestnut shoots. In addition, she has initiated, multiplied, and rooted Ozark chinqapin (Castanea pumila), a related North American species which is also killed by Cryphonectria parasitica. Allison has experiments underway to generate somatic embryos from tissue cultured leaf slices of both Ozark chinqapin and a wild-type American chestnut tree from Ontario, Canada, which would allow for future transformations for blight resistance.

The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For additional information, contact DOAS at [email protected].