Georgia News

GA-TACF Science Progress 2022

2022 was a very productive year for the Georgia chapter of TACF and its many citizen volunteers.  Here is a quick summary of progress, starting with a summary of what we’ve been able to accomplish in the breeding program since 2006.

Seed type
Crosses
American chestnut C. dentata 123
F1 17
BC1 17
BC2 2
BC3 113
BC4 114
Chinese chestnut C. mollissima 31
Darling 58 (OXO) 7
Other (Quasi B1, C. henryi, C. pumila, etc.) 38
Total 
461
Summary of summer/fall 2022 breeding work:

11 backcross lines for blight resistance screening

4 backcross lines for Phytophthora root rot (PRR) resistance screening

4 backcross lines for both blight and PRR resistance screening

14 C. dentata or nearly 100% C. dentata lines for germplasm conservation

9 Asian lines for phylogenetic study of blight resistance

Total of 1234 seeds produced
Other key activities summer/fall/winter 2023

Grafting: Grafted 62 scions of pure C. dentata on C. mollissima root stock.  14 alive from 4 lines.  Also, scion material was sent to USFS for nut grafting (material from about 25 different C. dentata in GA was collected and sent in January 2023)

Pollen collection: Pollens collected, processed, and frozen from 27 trees (10 C. dentata, 14 “Best” backcross trees, and 3 F1s).

Best X Best crosses: While our Best X Best hand pollinations at UGA largely failed, our GA pollens were successfully used to produce at least seven crosses by the Tennessee chapter (more by Meadowview and CC chapters).

Small stem assays (SSAs): SSAs were completed on ~350 seedlings at Berry College (11 backcross lines plus controls). Small stem assay manuscript was published in Plant Disease (Conn, et al.). This Alternate SSA (AltSSA) method is beginning to be the standard for early blight screening in the TACF program. Winners going to Richards orchard.

Blight evaluations, orchard inoculations, and culling: Done at Roy Richards and Flint backcross seed orchards.

Tree mapping: Several new Castanea trees were catalogued and mapped, including one C. dentata in Oconee County and about 27 new C. dentata from recent TreeSnap observations.  See map here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1zVPTIqnrXk5PVFMa2Uz4K5kSZ4SRepc&ll=34.0926447786694%2C-83.66902105&z=7

Germplasm conservationC. dentata seedlings from 2021 crop are being distributed to various germplasm conservation orchards for planting winter 2022-23.  Embryos from GA trees were successfully cloned from several sources by the Merkle UGA lab and some lines have been successfully transformed with the OXO gene.

Breeding orchard plantings: Trees were added for PRR screening at Flint North Ridge site in October 2022. Trees are ready for planting at Roy Richards seed orchard in early 2023.

Miscellaneous other:

Phylogenetic study: Seeds from C. mollissima, C. henryi, and C. seguinii were harvested for a collaborative phylogenetic study being organized by Jared Westbrook at TACF.

Tree searching: Testing of protocol is underway for locating new C. dentata using drones (Jack Rogers).

DNA analysis: A few samples of leaves were taken from key trees for DNA analysis.

 

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Another great couple of days with GA-TACF volunteers! Today and yesterday, we had about 30 volunteers help with the small stem assay project at Berry College. Many thanks to all who came to participate and learn!

This project is part of our program to assess blight resistance in "best X best" crosses in the TACF hybrid chestnut program. The small stem assay is a way of assessing resistance at the seedling stage (less than a year old). In about 90 days the cankers that form on the stems will be measured and used to evaluate resistance level of the seedlings.

Our next big volunteer efforts in GA will likely be around seed harvest time in mid September through early October. Watch for announcements about these and other upcoming events.
The American Chestnut Foundation
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Another great couple of days with GA-TACF volunteers!  Today and yesterday, we had about 30 volunteers help with the small stem assay project at Berry College.  Many thanks to all who came to participate and learn!  

This project is part of our program to assess blight resistance in best X best crosses in the TACF hybrid chestnut program.  The small stem assay is a way of assessing resistance at the seedling stage (less than a year old).  In about 90 days the cankers that form on the stems will be measured and used to evaluate resistance level of the seedlings.

Our next big volunteer efforts in GA will likely be around seed harvest time in mid September through early October.  Watch for announcements about these and other upcoming events.
The American Chestnut FoundationImage attachmentImage attachment+Image attachment

Volunteers from Reinhardt University and Berry College had a great day today inoculating trees at the Austin Flint chestnut orchard near Waleska. Here are a few pics from the day’s work.

Meanwhile... another volunteer reminder!

On July 8 and 9, we will hold a volunteer event at Berry College (see details below*). If you'd like to volunteer, please access the volunteer registration form here: tacf.org/volunteer/ The registration site includes a link to the required volunteer waiver form. It is really simple to fill out and takes just a minute or two.

*Details: We will be looking for a small group of volunteers to help us do Small Stem Assays for blight resistance on chestnut seedlings at Berry College. July 8 and 9, no experience necessary. Time frame is 9 am to 5 pm and volunteers are welcome to arrive at any time before 2 pm. This is easy, partly indoor work and requires no expertise. It is a great way to learn about what we are doing and how we do it. This will be held at the McAllister Research Greenhouse. Berry College is just north of Rome on Rt. 27. Go through the Visitors Center access and ask for directions to the McAllister Research Greenhouse (NOT the Horticultural Greenhouse). If you plan to come, please email us at GaChapter@tacf.org
... See MoreSee Less

Volunteers from Reinhardt University and Berry College had a great day today inoculating trees at the Austin Flint chestnut orchard near Waleska. Here are a few pics from the day’s work.

Meanwhile... another volunteer reminder!

On July 8 and 9, we will hold a volunteer event at Berry College (see details below*).  If youd like to volunteer, please access the volunteer registration form here: https://tacf.org/volunteer/ The registration site includes a link to the required volunteer waiver form.  It is really simple to fill out and takes just a minute or two.

*Details:  We will be looking for a small group of volunteers to help us do Small Stem Assays for blight resistance on chestnut seedlings at Berry College.  July 8 and 9, no experience necessary.  Time frame is 9 am to 5 pm and volunteers are welcome to arrive at any time before 2 pm.  This is easy, partly indoor work and requires no expertise.  It is a great way to learn about what we are doing and how we do it.  This will be held at the McAllister Research Greenhouse.  Berry College is just north of Rome on Rt. 27.  Go through the Visitors Center access and ask for directions to the McAllister Research Greenhouse (NOT the Horticultural Greenhouse).  If you plan to come, please email us at GaChapter@tacf.orgImage attachmentImage attachment+4Image attachment

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Marty teaching us the inoculation technique.

Berry crew!

Go Vinny!Meet the Interns:

During the month of July we will be introducing our summer 2024 Interns!

Meet Vinny Varsalona, we are very excited to have him to helping out in VA.
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Go Vinny!
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