Dieback-resistant ash genome sequenced
The first genome sequence of an ash tree with high resistance to the fungal disease, ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea), has been completed by an Anglo-Danish research consortium. The sequence is derived from a specimen, Tree35, growing in Denmark. Ash dieback has been present in mainland Europe since 1992 and has recently spread to the UK. No fungicides are available to treat infected trees. The sequence data have been published on the crowdsourcing website, OpenAshDieBack. The research team has previously completed sequencing the genome of C fraxinea. Data showed a high level of genomic variability in fungal strains from infected trees in UK woodlands, indicating that more than one "seeding event" was likely involved in the spread of the disease. Researchers hope that the sequence data will aid in identifying other resistant trees that can be used to establish lines with low susceptibility to the fungus.