The American chestnut: how biotechnology can be applied to conservation
William Powell, Ph.D., Director, American Chestnut Research & Restoration Project, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY
The American chestnut was once a common, economically, and culturally important keystone species within its range in the eastern forest, but was devastated by an invasive pathogen. Over the past century, many techniques have been applied to try and restore this important tree with only partial or no success. Today we have newer biotechnology tools that in many ways are ideal for conservation and restoration. I will describe how the tools of genetic engineering, combined with traditional breeding, can help restore the American chestnut trees.