Ash dieback: Research, funding and policy news – 9 April 2014

10th Apr 2014

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Ash tree transcriptome assemblies available

Ash transcriptome assemblies are now available for download on the website.


Tree health and plant biosecurity report published

The House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee published its Tenth Report of Session 2013–14, on Tree health and plant biosecurity, on 5th March 2014.

Download report


Ash dieback: long-term monitoring of impacts on biodiversity

The overall objective of this study was to scope-out the options for a long-term monitoring strategy of the impacts of ash dieback on biodiversity in the UK. This objective was addressed using a 3-day facilitated workshop at CEH Wallingford, bringing together expertise from CEH, various NGOs and the statutory agencies. The main questions addressed were: (1) What are the monitoring needs for ash dieback? (2) How suitable are existing surveys? (3) How does current monitoring need to be enhanced or extended?


New Chief Plant Health Officer announced

Environment Minister Lord de Mauley announced today that Professor Nicola Spence will be taking on the important role of Chief Plant Health Officer from the start of April.


Ash research reveals first genetic clues to fight dieback

Scientists collaborating on ash dieback research can reveal the first genetic clues that could help them identify and breed trees tolerant to the disease. Scientists from the University of York analysed data generated by the John Innes Centre and The Genome Analysis Centre in Norwich from around 180 Danish trees. The susceptibility of these trees to ash dieback has been measured by scientists at the University of Copenhagen.


AshTag communications campaign wins Guardian Award

The University of East Anglia Communications Office won a prestigious Guardian University Award on February 26 at a glittering ceremony in London. The team fought off stiff competition from other high profile communication campaigns including the University of Leicester’s ‘King in a car park’ to be presented the award by writer and broadcaster Victoria Coren.

The award recognises the communications campaign launching the Ashtag mobile app. Media relations manager Lisa Horton, who collected the award with colleagues from UEA’s Adapt Low Carbon Group, said “We are delighted to have won this award. The team worked around the clock on this project and it is fantastic to be recognised for all that hard work.”


Protecting, improving, and expanding our forests – 1 year on

It’s been a year since the Government published the Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement. This marked the end of an uncertain period for the forest estate in the England, with questions over ownership left open until the publication of last year’s statement. Commenting on the recommendations made by the Independent Panel on Forestry, the statement set future directions for the future of English forestry policy. An update on how commitments are being met has been released.


TEAGASC PhD Walsh Fellowship: genetic diversity of ash and methods for its recombination and propagation

This Fellowship aims to provide strategic infrastructures of germplasm, genetic knowledge and methods to accelerate the development of ash trees resistant to ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea). It will survey the genetic variation of common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) trees in Ireland and compare these with the variation found in the rest of Europe. Using data from areas infected by Chalara, it will seek to predict the susceptibility of different Irish genotypes to the disease.

The PhD Fellowship is a joint research project between Teagasc and Queen Mary University of London. The student will be registered at Queen Mary University of London, working under the supervision of Dr Richard Buggs in association with Teagasc supervisor Dr Gerry Douglas. Work and relevant training will be undertaken both at the Teagasc Kinsealy Research Centre near Dublin and at Queen Mary University of London. The Fellowship will start as soon as possible after 1st of October when the most suitable candidate is appointed.

Application deadline: 30th June 2014


OpenAshDieBack – GeeFu

GeeFu is a site for sharing and updating genomics data and information on ash and ash dieback.

-Browse and keyword search all the genomics data from The Open Ash Dieback Project

-BLAST against the sequence databases in there

-Read the growing wiki of contributed gene information

-Contribute new analyses and annotations of genes, proteins etc

-Add to the wiki your expert knowledge

-Modify and update the gene and protein models based.


Recent post on the OpenAshDieback crowdsourcing hub:

-Identification of protein-coding genes putatively involved in infection by combining metagenomics analysis and protein orthologue clustering

-Regression analysis of gene expression values against disease symptoms


If you have details of meetings, research, funding or policy news on ash dieback that you would like circulating, please email us.

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