Elm trees cloned to prevent extinction
Dutch elm disease threatens the American elm tree
About seventy-eight species of oak trees were globally threatened with extinction already in 2008 , as well as conifers, magnolias, ginkgo biloba trees and many others. Scientists and researchers from different countries, in an effort to find a solution for such a big echological problem, are investigating ways to preserve this natural heritage. In America, this problem became a real concern after scientists raised the alert over the risk of extinction of their American elm tree, victim of the Dutch elm disease .
The Dutch elm disease is caused by a member of the sac fungi and is spread by the elm bark beetle. This In areas not affected by the Dutch elm disease, the American elm tree can survive several hundred years , but the recent increase in the disease range has threatened to caused the extinction of the American elm tree. Image: Elm tree by PermaCultured under Creative Common license (CC BY 2.0).
Common name: American elm tree
But now, scientists at the University of Guelph found a way to successfully clone American elm trees that survived epidemics of the Dutch elm disease. The news have been published in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research as the first known use of in vitro culture technology to clone buds of mature American elm trees .
This research is not only important because it will help to preserve specimens of the resistant Americna elm tree but also because it is a breakthrough in cloning endangered species that could serve as a model for other endangered species. The cloned specimens seem to have built resistance to the Dutch elm disease, which affects the Elms via fungal infection interfering with the water and nutrients transport to the tree, causing its death.
Big compliments to Guelph scientists !