American chestnut [Castanea dentata (Marshall) Borkhausen, Fagales: Fagaceae] was a dominant forest tree in the eastern forests of the U.S. until it was eliminated as a canopy tree species by 2 exotic pathogens. Ink disease, a root rot caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands (Pythiales: Pythiaceae), began to destroy chestnut populations on bottomland and poorly-drained sites in the mid-1800s, and the chestnut blight fungus [Cryphonectria parasitica (Murrill) Barr, Diaporthales: Cryphonectriaceae] reduced the species to short-lived sprouts on upland sites in the first half of the 20th Century (cf. Campbell and Schlarbaum 2002, Fading Forests II: Trading Away North America's Heritage, Healing Stones Found., Knoxville, TN). Various organizations have used a backcross breeding approach to integrate blight resistance from Asiatic chestnut species into American chestnut in an effort to restore the species to eastern forests (Anagnostakis 1999, In Proc. 2...

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