Ash dieback: Research, funding and policy news - 12 December 2013

12th Dec 2013

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Hymenoscyphus albidoides sp. nov. and H. pseudoalbidus from China

A new species, Hymenoscyphus albidoides, is described based on materials collected from eastern China. Sequences of the new species form a well-supported clade in the phylogenetic trees inferred from either the individual ITS, calmodulin gene and β-tubulin gene, or combined ITS and calmodulin gene, as well as combined ITS, calmodulin and β-tubulin genes. Morphologically, the new species differs from H. albidus in the presence of croziers at the ascus bases and from H. pseudoalbidus in the shape of crystals within the tissue of the stipe base, and an outer covering layer over the flanks of the ectal excipulum of parallel instead of interwoven hyphae. Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus is recorded for the first time from China.

Zheng, H. & Zhuang, W. (2013) Mycological Progress. In press.


FRAXBACK eCOST Action video presentations

Presentations from the FRAXBACK eCOST Action conference held in London on 29th November 2013 are available to watch online.


Out of the woods. Ash dieback and the future of emergent pathogenomics

Opinion piece: MacLean, D. (2014) Molecular Plant Pathology 15(1), pp1–4.


The Ash Dieback Fungus, Chalara Fraxinea, Might Have a Mechanism to Define Territory and to Combat Viruses

Plant pathologists Dr Joan Webber, from Forest Research, the research agency of the Forestry Commission, and Professor Clive Brasier found that the defence mechanisms which the Chalara fraxinea fungus uses to defend its territory could make it more resistant to virus-based control methods. Their research findings have been published in the journal Fungal Ecology.

Brasier, C. & Webber, J. Vegetative incompatibility in the ash dieback pathogen Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus and its ecological implications (2013) Fungal Ecology 6(6), pp501–512.


Living Ash Project launched

The Living Ash Project is a Defra-funded consortium comprising representatives from Earth Trust, Future Trees Trust, Sylva Foundation and Forest Research. It aims to identify a large and diverse number of ash trees with good tolerance to Chalara ash dieback, to secure this material for further breeding work, and to quickly make this material available to industry.


New ash tree genome assembly available

Since the last assembly release, we have improved the contiguity of the assembly by scaffolding the CLC contigs together using all paired read files, and lowering the SSPACE parameter ‘-k’ (number of paired reads linking two contigs) to 7. This reduced the number of N nucleotides inserted into gaps between contigs, and SOAP’s GapCloser reduced the number of N’s still further.


Maintain ash dieback vigilance, say experts, despite slower than expected growth in cases

One year on from ash dieback hitting the headlines and threatening to kill Britain’s 80 million ash trees, experts say the danger of Chalara fraxinea should not be played down despite just 607 cases being reported in the UK.


Could Somerset site give hope for ash dieback disease?

Trees in a Somerset plantation have survived with ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea) for far longer than previously thought possible, suggesting there may be potential to slow the spread of the disease in the British countryside after all, say the National Trust.


‘Sentinel’ plants to serve on front line against pests and diseases

A major international project to set up a global plant health early warning network of ‘sentinel’ trees and plants, led by the UK, has been launched. The International Plant Sentinel Network (IPSN) will develop a community of botanic gardens and arboreta around the world that will use ‘sentinel’ plants to provide early warning of new and emerging tree and plant pests and diseases. The increasing globalisation of trade in plants and plant material has led to an increase in the introduction and spread of new and economically or environmentally damaging plant pests and diseases such as Chalara ash dieback (caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea) and Ramorum disease (caused by the Phytophthora ramorum pathogen).


Recent post on the OpenAshDieback crowdsourcing hub:

Repeated mRNA-Seq analysis of Tree 35


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