Researchers From the U.S. Forest Service and the United Kingdom Join Forces To Save Ash Trees Facing Intercontinental Threats
More than 40 species of ash are important to both the environment and the economy of countries located across five continents. Currently the global ash resource is facing two significant threats: the flat-headed, wood-boring insect known as the emerald ash borer (EAB) and a fungal disease known as ash dieback disease. In the United States and Russia, EAB is killing ash trees at an unprecedented rate and is likely to spread. Ash dieback disease, first observed in Poland over 20 years ago, has now reached 21 European nations and research has shown that at least some ash species native to the United States are susceptible. EAB and ash dieback disease are both native to Asia, and Asian ash species have been identified that are resistant to both. As part of an international team, Forest Service researchers will test over 20 different species of ash for resistance and susceptibility to EAB and international collaborators will test for resistance and susceptibility to ash dieback disease. Genomic sequences of thousands of genes from each of the ash species will be generated. Scientists will use a novel approach to identify genes involved in resistance by looking for evolutionary patterns of variation in genes that co-occur only in species with resistance to EAB or ash dieback disease.
Forest Service Partners