The images above show ash trees and leaf stalks infected by the ash dieback fungus, a serious disease affecting our native ash trees. The disease, which is caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea, has spread from other parts of Europe to the UK. The fungus is thought to have been spread through importing infected ash trees and by the movement of wind-blown fungal spores.
NORNEX, a research consortium involving eleven research centres coordinated by Professor Allan Downie from the John Innes Centre, is using an open-access model to generate deeper knowledge of this disease.
By looking at the genetic information behind ash dieback and of infected plants, researchers have established that there is a diverse range of the Chalara fraxinea fungus with differing genetic makeup, responsible for widespread infection across Europe. NORNEX scientists are also working on identifying the inheritance of low disease susceptibility among ash trees.
BBSRC funds various projects helping to save trees across the UK, and this week seven new research projects have been given funding to help address threats to UK trees. This new project will generate knowledge to tackle pests and diseases to support the future health of the UK’s woodlands, commercial forests and urban trees with societal benefits estimated at around £1.8 Bn per year.
Images of close-up infected ash petioles (leaf stems) photographed by Andrew Davis from the John Innes Centre. The image of the Ash tree was photographed by Anne Edwards.
These images are from work done within the NORNEX programme which is funded jointly by the BBSRC and DEFRA.
For more information on the NORNEX project visit http://nornex.org/
For more BBSRC tree related news visit http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/fundamental-bioscience/2014/140325-pr-projects-to-help-save-forests-woods-trees.aspx
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