SUNY College of Environmental Science researchers plan to continue despite loss of foundation support for genetically engineered strain

By Chloe Bennett
Adirondack Explorer
January 11, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

The American chestnut was affected by a fungus introduced to the United States from East Asia in the 1900s known now as chestnut blight. …Researchers from various institutions have sought to introduce a blight-tolerant version of the tree, including the SUNY College of Environmental Science (ESF). In 2015, after decades of research, the college began developing the transgenic Darling line, named after early supporter Herb Darling. …According to The American Chestnut Foundation the goal of the Darling line of trees “was to confer blight tolerance by inserting a gene from wheat called oxalate oxidase.” …But in December, The American Chestnut Foundation announced it would no longer support the transgenic line developed by SUNY ESF because of performance issues and the risk of skewing public perception against biotechnology. …But a labeling error made in 2016 is partly to blame for the foundation withdrawing its support for the project. 

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